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  • Writer's pictureH.R. Owen

Episode Sixty Two

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Monstrous Agonies E62S02 Transcript

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode Sixty Two.

[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through pop music, a voice saying “-stood alone-” and classical music before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]

The Presenter

-just don't think the loincloth is a necessary addition.

It's almost two o'clock on Thursday morning, and time once more for our advice segment, where I answer listeners' questions about all thing liminal.

[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]

The Presenter

The Nightfolk Network – the voice of liminal Britain.

[End background music]

The Presenter

Tonight's first letter is from a listener wondering how to handle a parting of ways.

The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

You know they always talk about love at first sight? I feel like we don't talk enough about friends at first sight. You know, when you meet someone and you just click, and you just know you're going to be friends forever.

It was like that with me and Roly. We met in, ooh, 1070-something? I don't know. It was some soggy little tavern in Picardy. I was pretty deep in my cups, just had a bad break up. Roly sat down and started chatting to me – at me, really. I told him to... please leave me alone. In slightly stronger terms.

He took umbrage. A fight broke out. We swapped a couple of punches, then called it even and spent the rest of the night getting seriously drunk. It was the most fun I'd had in months. Woke up in a ditch together the next day and the rest is history!

Which is sort of the problem, actually. History. And lots of it. Like I said, we clicked immediately and have been basically inseparable ever since. I mean, we've had times when we've gone off to do our own thing, obviously, but we always sort of default back to one another, you know? If I say I'm going home, I usually mean I'm going where Roly is.

We've been living with each other on and off – more on than off, actually – for nine centuries. It's been a hoot. He's- [laughs] He's my best friend! I don't know what to tell you! He's just, he's my guy, you know? Lawrence and Roland. Roly and Laurie. We just fit.

But for all that, you know, things change. We've changed, a lot! We're going to try moving out for a bit, you know? Branching out on our own, getting our own places. I mean, nearby each other, obviously. [laughs] But, yeah. It's time.

Like I said though – nine centuries. We've got a lot of stuff. Like, a lot. Furniture, clothes, keepsakes, artwork. We tried doing a clear-out but turns out it's really good stuff! [laughs] We like it! We both like it. All of it, really. And neither of us can remember who bought what. I think you can see the problem.

How are we supposed to divide up nine hundred years worth of belongings?

The Presenter (as themselves)

There are plenty of methods for dealing with these kinds of situations, listener. You might hire a professional appraiser to give you the items' monetary value and then take turns choosing what you each want to take with you, until one of you reaches an amount that equals 50% of that total.

You might also agree that whatever one person wants, they can pay half its value to the other, buying back their share. Or you could solve things more traditionally, in hand to hand combat with the stakes agreed beforehand.

If that sounds rather cold, that's because it is. These are processes meant to answer this question quickly and simply, making a clean break between the two of you. But you aren't looking for a clean break.

You and, uh... Roly are not removing yourselves from one another's lives. You may be living in different spaces, but you're still bound together, deeply and intimately. There is still an enormous amount of love and affection between the two of you, and it seems rather silly to pretend there isn't.

You can't solve this with rational decision making, because it's not a rational decision. You have nine hundred years worth of memories to wade through. It's going to take a very long time. It deserves that time. Your friendship is worth far more than a quick fix.

Take each object in its turn. Consider it together, sharing the memories you have of it, and see if either of you feels strongly about keeping it. When there are items you can't agree on, please, remember that you're friends. You love each other. Navigate the conversation with that love as your guide.

It may still be uncomfortable, but you aren't going to break up a friendship like this over who gets to keep the 17th century Dutch oak armoire. Take your time, and trust the strength of your relationship to see you through.

[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]

The Presenter

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[End background music]

The Presenter

Our second letter tonight is from a listener struggling to stick to a schedule.

The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)

This is going to sound daft, but I don't know who else to ask. I'm not what the sapios would call neurotypical. Easily-distracted, some people call it. Flaky. You know. People who think this is just a quirky little personality thing. Mental health support in the creature community is spotty at best and finding someone who gets it is a nightmare.

My genus has a... time of the month thing. You know. Standard. Lunar-related, 28-days on the nose. Every 28 days without fail. Like, this has been happening to me every month since... [sighing] yeah. So of course, everyone assumes I know my cycle and when it'll come up and everything.

But I never remember. Like, logically, I know it's coming, because it's always bloody coming. Never stops, does it? But somehow, I forget. Right up until the change happens, I forget! And it's led to some... incidents. Chicken coops. Slippers. Thankfully, nothing... p-person-based... but I'm worried it's only a matter of time.

I've tried calendars. I've had apps on phone. I've marked my diaries. Even alarms – great big noisy things! But my brain somehow manages to avoid or ignore or just skim right over every single reminder until I wake up on the kitchen floor, surrounded by the remains of the grocery shopping that should've lasted me a week.

Do you have any suggestions for other options?

The Presenter (as themselves)

That sounds very frustrating, listener. I know you mentioned the difficulty in finding mental health support in the creature community, so I'll just mention in passing that I do think it would be worth pursuing a formal diagnosis, if possible.

Waiting lists for an ADHD assessment are notoriously long across the NHS, but if you can get things moving in that direction, you might find that a clinical approach, both in terms of medication and more formal counselling, could help you manage your symptoms more effectively.

However, that doesn't help you in the here and now. My first thought is to wonder if there are things you could put in place in your home to minimise the damage you might do if and when you forget about your change.

There can be an attitude in some quarters that such accommodations are an admission of weakness, or only to be turned to by people who “really need it”. Just in case you have that voice in your head, I'm can tell you right now and without hesitation – you don't need a good reason to make your life more comfortable. Your comfort is reason enough.

To give you some practical examples, you might add some extra security so that your changed self can't leave the building – a lock that requires a key code, for example, or a mechanism poorly suited for use by non-opposable thumbs.

As for eating your groceries in one sitting, might you leave out a stockpile of food that would be more appealing to your changed self? You can ignore it during the rest of the month and replenish the supplies as needed.

When it comes to chewing up slippers, I'm afraid the only solution is to think of slippers like shampoo – a consumable item that will need regular resupply. There's just something irresistible about them to genuses of your type, I'm afraid.

However, I know you also want a solution to the problem of your forgetting in the first place. Have you considered asking a friend to help?

I know you said that alarms and so on don't work for you. But I think a personal message from a friend, one who knows your situation and understands the reason for this communication, might register more firmly in your brain than these easily silenced, easily ignored notifications.

Think of someone you know who is reliable and dependable. Someone with a similar cycle to yours would be best, but not entirely necessary. Ask them to check in with you each month at around the time you need to be preparing for your change. You can even give them a checklist of things that you particularly need to be reminded of.

The nice thing about a friend doing this rather than an application is that friends are rather harder to switch off. As well as being reliable and trustworthy, try and find someone just the right amount of annoying. Someone who really will not let you ignore them.

If it sounds like too much to put onto one person, ask others, too. Talk about your issues. You've got nothing to be ashamed of, and the people who love you want to help you. There's nothing noble about struggling alone. You have a community, listener. Use it.

That's all for this week's advice segment. Next on the Nightfolk Network, body image in the community. Walk into any newsagents and you will be bombarded by images of rippling scales, silky fur and bulging...

[Speech fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through pop music, a voice saying “-maybe even getting a piece of trouser-” and more pop music before fading out.

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

H.R. Owen

Episode Sixty Two of Monstrous Agonies was written and performed by H.R. Owen.

Tonight's first letter was from a submission by Ovya, the second was submitted by Fyre, and today's advert was submitted by May. Thanks, friends. Submissions are now closed for adverts and letters this season, but will reopen in Season Three.

Hello and welcome to our latest supporters on Patreon, SmallScrapper, Moon, and Nicole! Join them at, make a one-off donation a, or support the show by sharing with your friends and familiars, and by 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]


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