• H.R. Owen

Episode Sixty Nine

Listen to:

Episode Sixty Nine


Link to PDF:

MAS02-E69
.pdf
Download PDF • 88KB

Monstrous Agonies E69S02 Transcript


H.R. Owen

Hello, friends. Hero here. I've got a couple of things for you this week. First of all, a rare content warning. This week's first letter deals with issues around spousal emotional abuse, so please tread carefully and look after yourselves. There's a time-stamp in the show notes if you want to skip ahead.


Secondly, we are nearing the end of Season Two here on Monstrous Agonies and you know what that means: Q&A! Q&A! Send us your questions through social media, via the website, or by email.


Finally, stick around to the end of the episode to hear a trailer for a podcast I think you'll really enjoy. That's all from me – enjoy the episode and I'll see you soon.


[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]


H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode Sixty Nine.


[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through a voice saying “-after his death-”, a voice saying “-I, I think it's innate-”, classical music, a voice saying “-what hope is there-” and pop music before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]


The Presenter

-worse things happen at sea. Like scurvy.


It's almost two o'clock on Thursday morning. [wincing] The advice segment. First... Uh. Oh, God. And awful, awful relationship. [shudders]


The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

I'm not writing for myself, not really. I hope that's alright. I just truly need advice on what to do. Or if I should do anything at all. My parents need to get a divorce. And I'm trying to orchestrate it.


My mother's genus is, uh. Well, very magically inclined, to put it lightly. My father's? Not so much. My father's genus is rather further than my mother's from the sapio baseline. The word they use for themselves doesn't quite translate into English but, uh, “feline-adjacent” just about covers it.


My mother is under the impression that magical ability equates to one's intelligence. Fully and truly, to an appalling degree. She'll go off on a tirade for hours on how those who cannot practice magic “aren't trying hard enough” at best and... I'm ashamed to say it. And “aren't really people” at worst. She's... not a good person. She’s awful.


My father can cast some magic. Not much, but some. This is probably his only saving grace in my mother's eyes. But because of his genus, he is, very literally, biologically less capable at casting. And my mother has really got in his head about it.


He's one of the smartest people you could ever meet. He's brilliant at maths, science, architecture, design, you name it. But because he can't cast spells that my mother deems “basic”, he fully believes he’s stupid. Just because she- [sob]


It infuriates me when he talks about himself like that, because he is smart, he's so smart and capable. And besides which who cares about any of that when he's- he's kind and thoughtful and cares about the people around him! But no matter what I say, he hand waves it away and tells me I don't need to lie to him. He's accepted it.


On his worst days, he talks about himself like he couldn't possibly cope without my mother helping him. He's convinced – she's convinced him – that he's nothing without her.


That's not even getting into how, from childhood to now, she didn't let him teach me his genus's language, culture, she didn't allow us anything that she deemed 'animalistic'. No purring, no hissing, no nuzzling, nothing but what she deemed proper. By which, of course, she meant 'most like her genus', not his. Not mine.


Do you have any idea how hard it is to repress your purring? It's not something you do consciously. But my father hasn't purred for 30 years.


If my grandfather hadn't been living with us before he died, I wouldn't even know my name in my own language. I wouldn't know anything about my culture. I'd still be ashamed of myself every time I did a simple thing like purr when I'm happy.

It's an awful relationship. And now that I'm removed from the situation and in my own relationship with a loving partner, I can see so much more clearly just how awful it is. Whenever I visit, I find myself leaving all the more appalled by the treatment my father is subjected to.


How do I convince him that his relationship with my mother, his wife of over 30 years now, is destructive to him? Because I... I don't even know where to begin.


The Presenter (as themselves)

[wincing] Oh, listener. I'm... I'm, I'm so sorry to hear that your father is being treated so appallingly. You may not need to hear this, but it's important to be very clear on this matter: you are not responsible for putting an end to your mother's behaviour. I am very glad your father has you in his corner. But just as your mother's actions are not a reflection on him, neither do they reflect on you. She, and only she, is to blame.


You ask, uh... Sorry. [clears throat] You ask how to tell your father that the relationship is destructive. I don't believe you need to. He knows how she treats him, and how it makes him feel. He... [sighs] He knows.


I also want to push back against your desire to “orchestrate” their divorce. I understand that you want this to stop, urgently, and very, very reasonably. But it's not appropriate for you to try and save your father. His boundaries and autonomy have already been violated enough. You need to let him make his own decisions here.

Your father needs you to support him where he is right now. Let him know that he doesn't need to earn your love and kindness. He already has it, and he deserves it – he deserves... better.


[wincing] Uh, try and spend time with him alone, even if only for a, a walk in the park or a quick cup of coffee. Let him know that, if he wants to talk about his relationship, he can. But mostly, I want you to use this time to show him what he means to you, independent of your mother.


It might also give you chance to talk to him about his culture – to show him that you're proud to be a member of his genus, and that he can be, too. Your mother has been systematically undermining his self-worth and independence for decades. Give him space, and time, to be himself.


If it feels appropriate, you can give him contact information- Uh, for local or- [breaks off, gasping and wincing] Uh, local or n-national organisations that could help him. You might even make a plan together, giving him an idea of what leaving your mother would look like in practice.


But he also needs to know you're there right now, whatever he does. That you trust his judgement, and believe in his ability to make his own decisions. And that if he does decide to leave, you and the others who love him will be there to catch him.


[They gasp for breath and clear their throat. Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]

The Presenter

In association with ThermaDamp Protective Gear. Whether you're a master carpenter or a hobbyist woodworker, our thaumiturgically inert carpentry gloves mean you can go about your work without worrying about reactive components. Choose from iron-safe, silver-safe, or our new combination gloves for total protection. ThermaDamp – whatever your work, work safe. Proud members of the Nightfolk Network.

[End background music. The Presenter groans and pants.]


The Presenter

Tonight's second letter is f-from... Uh...?

[There is a slight crackle of static, continuous in the background.]


The CEO

Gosh, you look different in the flesh. Is it flesh? Don’t want to presume, of course, HR would have my hide.

The Presenter

H- How did you get in here?

The CEO

It’s like when you see someone from the telly down at the pub, and they don’t look quite real! Or maybe they look more real.


The Presenter

I’m sorry, I have to ask you to leave.


The CEO

Polite. I like that. I appreciate good manners.


The Presenter

I could be ruder.

The CEO

[laughing] Oh, there’s that bite! That’s what made me such a fan in the first place, you know? All the touchy-feely stuff is well and good, but I love – and I mean I love it – when it’s so clear you’re holding back how much you want to tell some of these absolute tragedies just what you think of them.


The Presenter

Whoever you are-

The CEO

Oh! You’re so right. Here I am going on about my fondness for manners, and I’ve yet to extend you the most basic showing. Forgive me. [the flip of a card] My card.


The Presenter

There’s no name on this. There’s- [winces] There’s nothing on this.


The CEO

Kind of redundant to have a name these days. I prefer titles. Lots of us have them, don’t we? The Loch Ness Monster. The Brosno Dragon. The Presenter. You can just call me the CEO.

The Presenter

The… oh. Oh, for pity's sake! Was bombarding the station with letters not enough? Now it’s, what? In person intimidation? I think I’ve made my position on Apocacorp perfectly clear. If that’ll be all, I strongly suggest you leave. Now.

The CEO

But see, that’s just it! You’ve made your position clear – but who are you? Really, seriously. Who are you? Do you speak for the entire Nightfolk Network? What’s the hierarchy? Who is in charge here?


Because, my business? It’s very clear who’s in charge. Bought it fair and square, got a title and everything. But you, you personally, don't like the way I do business and you decide it’s your right to interfere. To dictate to your loyal legion of listeners that they also have to dislike my business – dislike me, or suffer losing your affections. Bit parasocial on both sides, if you ask me.


The Presenter

Just let them spend five minutes in your company. [laughing bitterly] Believe me, they’ll see what I see. An exploitative, monopolising-


The CEO

Hey, hey, hey, I’m just an honest business-owner trying to make a living. To succeed in my field as a young entrepreneur. You’re… Well, you’re a relic. You’ve been doing this too long, and you’ve lost sight of what this community needs. Can you blame me for wanting to shake things up?

The Presenter

You don’t get to shake things up. [wincing] You don’t own us.


The CEO

[coldy] No. No, I don’t. [brightly, as the Presenter flinches in the background] It’s amazing that you think you’re qualified to give out all this advice, when you make such terrible decisions! Did you know that it’s in your contract that you are explicitly meant to read out every single letter that makes it to the station?

The Presenter

[catching their breath] I don’t see how that’s any concern of yours. What is concerning is how you’ve seen my contract when it should be sealed as a private-

The CEO

Public record. Publicly owned company, public record. Very easy to request, see, examine. Study. Isn’t free access to information just a hoot? That’s what you get for giving power to the people. How many months' worth of letters from my representatives have you been ignoring since you turned my very generous offer down? Handfuls? Sackfuls? Vast, unending, black holefuls?


How are the migraines treating you?

[Beat. Then, the Presenter starts to laugh.]


The Presenter

I’m sorry. I'm sorry, you’re saying this was you? You’re trying to frighten me with... What? The fact you’ve made me a little bit poorly because I haven't read your post? [They laugh]

The CEO

No, no-no-no-no no no. Not frighten. Not yet, anyway. Still in the R&D phase of things. Not all of us can wing it the way you can and still come out on top.

[The background static rising in volume as the CEO speaks.]


See, ever since you first heard of me, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do about you. How to make sure to get you on side. And, when it was clear you wouldn’t come willingly, I had to change tack. A good businessman always has more than one solution to a problem. And solving the problem of you, with your power over your dear listeners, is top of my to-do list.


Consider this your official last warning. You know who I am, you know what I can do. [distorted] What I can... undo. Who I can undo, should you continue to stand in the way of what I’ve got planned.


So, for once, take someone else’s advice: don’t stand in my way.

[Beat. Then the static cuts out.]


Quiet in here, isn’t it? You’d think someone would have noticed me by now.


The Presenter

You...! No. No, [short blasts of static] MAB!


[The studio door opens and slams shut]


Mab

What? What, what is it?!


The Presenter

Oh! Oh! [gasping with relief] Oh, you’re still here! [sniffs] They said- They said-


Mab

Who said? What happened?


The Presenter

They were here, Mab, the CEO, they were here!


Mab

The… who? There’s nobody here, darling...


The Presenter

They were! They were, I saw them-!


Mab

Shh, I know, I know, I know, sweetheart, I believe you. I just meant they’re not here now. They’re gone, darling. It’s OK. You’re safe. It’s alright. It's alright...


The Presenter

[sobbing] I... Mab, I thought they’d… that you…

[The rustle of clothing. Then, quietly:]


The Presenter

Mab... I thought you...


Mab

Shh shh shh. I know. I know. Hush now.


[A beat while the Presenter breaths. Then the rustle of clothing and they continue, more calm.]


The Presenter

It’s them. They’ve been running it all. Apocacorp. Trying to buy the station – they made... something, they made something disappear- The static, did you hear the static?

Mab

Oh, God, you’re burning up.


The Presenter

I’m fine! I'm not sick, they’ve been doing something to me. The letters, Mab, it’s the letters- I’ve been fighting it off but it wasn’t, I can't-


Mab

Darling, that’s enough. As your manager, I’m signing you off work.


The Presenter

No, wait, you can’t-


Mab

Too late!


[She clicks her fingers. There’s an blast of garbled static and radio sounds, and then the sound of a running bath. A beat. Then, indignant splashing.]


The Understudy

Oh, you've got to be kidding me!


[Speech fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through pop music, a voice saying “-history tells us-”, a voice saying “-pay more tax than a millionaire-” and more pop music before fading out.


Title music: slow, bluesy jazz. It plays throughout the closing credits.]


H.R. Owen

Episode Sixty Nine of Monstrous Agonies was written by H.R. Owen and Sophie B. and performed by H.R. Owen, Elizabeth Plant, and Dom Guilfoyle, with Sophie B. as the Understudy.


Dom Guilfoyle is creator of The Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity and Mortality, a fiction podcast that takes its listeners on a guided tour of the strange and wonderful exhibits in a truly unique museum. Mistholme is hands-down one of the best podcasts I've ever listened to. It's funny, spooky, sweet and surprising in the best way. Their social media links are in the show notes, and I really recommend giving them a listen.


Tonight's first letter was submitted by Louis and this week's advert came from Timmie. Thanks, friends. Submissions are now closed for Season Two, but will reopen ahead of Season Three.


Hello and welcome to our latest supporter on Patreon, Jedishenobi. Join them at patreon.com/monstrousagonies. You can also make a one-off donation at ko-fi.com/hrowen, and help us grow our audience by sharing with your friends and familiars, and following us on Tumblr, @MonstrousAgonies, and on Twitter, @Monstrous_Pod.


This podcast is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The theme tune is Dakota by Unheard Music Concepts.


Thanks for listening, and remember – the real monsters are the friends we made on the way.

[Fade to silence. Then:]


Narrator

This is Stella Thomas.


Stella

Hi! I’m Stella Thomas.


Narrator

Stella had been living in her little world for 27 years. And Stella did not know it yet, but that world was about to come crashing down all around her!


Stella

Wait, what?


[Cheerful music begins – “Ya Like Pistachios?” by Alex Kingsley]


Stu

Your world wasn’t real.


Stella

So Earth just…doesn’t exist?


Narrator

Lost and confused, Stella joined the crew of the Starship Raccoon, which left her even more lost and confused.


Stella

Aw, a kitty!


Buttercup

Aw, a bitch!


Stella

Ah! Your cat talks!


Buttercup

Your human talks.


[slithering]


Theed

I’m a snail.


Narrator

Strong Branch Productions presents: a sci-fi comedy that will leave you asking, “Why?! What does it all mean?!”


Scott

I am a wealth of knowledge you insolent little meat sack!


Buttercup

I will piss in every shoe you’ve ever owned!


Captain

This crew is a nightmare I will never wake from.


Stella

I’m freer than I’ve ever been.


[Explosion]


Stella

I take it all back.


[Theme song plays – “How Small You Are” by Alex Kingsley]


Narrator

The Stench of Adventure Season 2! Coming to a device near you in Spring 2022.


[Fade to silence]


--END TRANSCRIPT--

54 views