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Episode Thirty Five

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Monstrous Agonies E35S01 Transcript

[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]

H.R. Owen

Monstrous Agonies: Episode Thirty Five.

[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through pop music, a voice saying “-an unusual thing-”, music and unintelligible speechbefore cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]

The Presenter

-struck three times, quick, with arrows of sunlight.

If you've just tuned in, you're right on time for our advice segment, where I answer questions about life in the creature community.

Before we begin, I have received a number of letters from listeners concerned for my wellbeing after my unexpected absence last week. I won't bore you with the details, but some explanation is needed, I know.

Regular listeners will be aware of an ongoing dispute between myself and a certain individual. Things came to a head last week and the encounter... [sighs] Well. It rather took it out of me. Not to mention the travel – I mean really, the Light Refracting Rail service has to be one of the most ramshackle, underfunded interplanar systems in Europe. It is nothing short of shameful.

When I finally reached her domain, of course, she had to have her chance to air her grievances – both fresh and positively ancient. But I put my foot down. There is line between the personal and the professional and I will not have that crossed.

This has, I think, put the matter to rest. It has put a number of things to rest. [quietly] For good. So, don't worry about me. I'm fine. Just a... a little tired, is all.

But, no rest for the wicked! Our first letter this evening is from a listener struggling with jealousy.

The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)

My friend and I started out in this business at the same time –the business of shaping the world, that is. We'd both had a passion for it ever since our first cycle, spending decades lost in conversation about what we would do when it was our turn, how we planned to influence and meddle. [laughing] Oh, the things we came up with! When the opportunity came to intern with the Dark Council, we both leapt at it. I mean, the Dark Council! You can't get much more world-shapey than that. Over the years we worked our way up through the ranks. She was always more reserved than I was, both in terms of her work and her personality.

I was the one who made the jokes that got everyone in Research and Destruction laughing. I brought the best unknown substances to the office potluck. I was the one whose name people remembered. But we never let that get in the way of our friendship. We were making our way to the top, together. A job came up. A big job. Like, capital B, capital J, Big Job. A seat on the Dark Council opened, and they were looking to promote from within. We both went for it, laughing as we sent our CVs through the appropriate bloodied channels about how in a million years they'd never pick us! [laughs, then sighs] Except they did. The Council... picked her. I'm not being big-headed when I say that everyone in our department was shocked. They all knew that I was the more- [sighs]Well. They all knew me. Everyone does! Everyone knows me and now... Now everyone knows her. Everyone whispers her name in the corridors, everyone cowers in fear at her shadow, everyone leaves their offerings at the cavernous entrance to her brand spanking new corner office! Ugh! I know this isn't the end of the world. At least, not yet anyway. Some of her plans from when we were young might come to fruition and then we'll all be in trouble! [laughs]But, I digress.

I want to be happy for her. I want to sing her praises and curse her name in the appropriate, professional sense. But I'm also devastated. It was meant to be us, together. She... I can't help but feel like she left me behind.

It's got to the point where I feel so rotten about it that I'm considering going and joining one of the opposition just so I might be in with a shot to ruin some of her plans. There's one company in particular I've heard is recruiting. Is that totally insane of me? Am I just a bad friend? How do I stop feeling like there's a knife in my chest every time I glimpse the hem of her towering, endless midnight robes?

The Presenter (as themselves)

You're not a bad friend, listener. This reaction, while not particularly pleasant, is very normal, and you needn't beat yourself up for feeling this way. You do, however, need to take these feelings in hand and try to cultivate a healthier, more supportive attitude – for both your sakes.

Success is not a finite resource. Notoriety is not some kind of fossil fuel, to be carefully rationed lest supplies run low. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to come into your own as a scourge upon the earth in your own right. Take this as a little friendly competition – an inspiration for you to double down and hone your own personal brand of trouble-making. In fact, I see no reason why her success can't be a boon to you – surely it can't hurt, to have a friend and confidante on the Dark Council?

It sounds like you had a great many hopes and schemes for what this friendship would look like as each of your careers progressed. It's... certainly difficult, when a relationship doesn't play out as you had expected. But now, it's important that you find a way to let those ideas go gently, and to accept the reality in front of you.

Please resist the urge to do anything rash. You clearly have a talent for transgression and it would be a shame to see that go to waste as the result of a hasty and unnecessary career change.

Besides which, the sort of opposition you're talking about... [sighs] Well, let's just say I think it better you give them a very wide berth. Though I am interested to hear about this apparent recruitment drive. Something to keep an eye on...

[clears throat] I think you just need a bit of time to process the news, listener. You've done very well to acknowledge your feelings, no matter how painful they are. But they aren't emotions that warrant being acted on. Try to channel them into something else – exercise, art, anything that helps you blow off steam in a healthy way. And, take heart – your time will come, soon enough.

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

The Presenter

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[End background music]

The Presenter

Our second listener tonight asks- Oh! [laughs] Do you know, I think I'd better leave it to them...

The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)

This is a bit unorthodox, I know. I do want your advice, if you've any to give, but my question is actually for someone else.

I'd never listened to the show before about October, November last year. I'm not in the community, so it never occurred to me to tune in. But then, things... I met someone.

He's fan of yours, he put me onto you. We listen together now, every week. It's a little sort of standing date we have. Sometimes we listen at home, but quite often we drive out somewhere, up the coast or out into the hills.

If everything goes according to plan, that's what we'll have done tonight. We'll be up on the headland, looking out at the view. I hope the moon's out. I can always see him a bit better by moonlight.

I tell you what, I never would have thought we'd get here after our first introduction! [laughs] He frightened the life out of me! Well, so to speak. Even then it- it took us a while to get to the actual, you know, dating thing.

I remember thinking, “Oh it's hopeless! He's probably not interested and even if he is, can't exactly have a romantic date in a car park or a drive through McDonald's or something!”

But I gritted my teeth and asked. And you said yes. I got dressed up nice, you teased me for it – said it wasn't hardly fair, since you couldn't do the same. I didn't mind. I thought you looked gorgeous. And I drove us up here. The exact same spot, six months ago today.

I remember, we were sitting talking – just like this, radio on in the background, the waves crashing against the shore down below. And you, you said something, made a joke. I have no idea it was, because I was hit suddenly by this moment of total clarity. “I'm going to fall in love with you,” I thought. “I'm going to love you so much.”

[sniffs] And... And I do. I really do. [tearful] You have brought so much light into my life. So much joy and excitement and- [sniffs, then laughs] Oh I'm tearing up just writing this! I can picture it, your face when you realise this letter's about you! I hope you're smiling...

If he isn't smiling, Future Josh, I think you should probably turn off the radio before we get much further.

But I... I bet he is. I bet you are.

And I'll reach for your hand. You're soft to the touch, and cold, like water. It's lovely. You're lovely. And you make me happy. It's as simple as that. [sniffs] I love you, and I will always love you.

[tearful breaths] So! By now I hopefully will have reached into my inside pocket and taken out the box that's in there. Opened it up for you. I- I thought we could get it on a little chain or something, hang it from the rear view mirror. Or not. Whatever you like, my love, I... Well, really I imagine we've probably stopped listening to the radio by now. But, on the off chance, here's my question. Sweetheart, will you marry me?

[sniffs] And to the Presenter – well, we wouldn't rightly be here if it wasn't for you so, if you're free and assuming it hasn't all gone to pot and he's said yes and so on, would you like to come to the wedding? You can bring a guest! I'm thinking next spring – no point wasting time, you know? Sorry, I'm rambling a bit now. Anyway, that's my letter and I know it's not the usual sort so thank you for making an exception for us. Thank you, for everything, really. Thank you. Bye. [laughs]

The Presenter (as themselves)

[laughing] Oh! Oh, listener. Oh, congratulations! [sniffs] I mean, hopefully congratulations. I suppose, as you said, if it looked like he was going to say no, you'd probably have turned the radio off. [laughs] Then again, if he said yes, you're likely a little distracted right now, aren't you. Oh, how lovely.

Well. You said you'd take any advice if I had it and that is what I'm here for, after all. So. The thing to remember is that, while getting married is a wonderful, exciting endeavour, it doesn't in itself change your relationship. Rather it's a way of celebrating and affirming the love that is already between you.

People often say that love is about compromise. I disagree. On a practical, day to day level, in matters of thermostat settings and upholstery, of course, there is compromise. But love itself, I think, is about being seen, truly seen as yourself, entire, and having that whole self delighted in. It is quite something to have somebody in your life who... really knows you.

You will change over time. Some of those changes will bring you closer together, while others will push you further apart. Try not to be frightened by this ebb and flow. Instead, embrace it – how exciting, to change together, hand in hand.

On a more practical note, I do have some advice for when you're planning your nuptials. Stick to your budget. Plan to wear shoes – and underwear – that you're going be comfortable dancing in. And don't invite people you don't want to just because you feel obligated. It's your day, and it's up to you who you share it with.

That said, whenever you set the date, and if the invitation still stands, I would be delighted to attend. I... will not be needing a plus one.

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

The Presenter

The Nightfolk Network – Don't touch that dial.

[End background music]

The Presenter

That's all for our advice segment tonight, and what a charming note to end on. Next, with summer in full swing, we talk to the brains behind this year's hot vacation craze. Graveyard glamping has swept the nation...

[Background music fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through choral music, a voice saying “-emotional connection-”, and pop music before fading out.

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

H.R. Owen

Episode Thirty Five of Monstrous Agonies was written and performed by H.R. Owen.

That's us for Season One! We'll be back in a few weeks and over the break I'll be releasing some bonus content to tide us over. Keep an eye out on our social media to make you don't miss out.

Tonight's first letter was submitted by Statler. Thanks, friend. The inbox is staying open over the break for your submissions for Season Two. Send them in though our website at, by email at, or on Tumblr at Monstrous Agonies. You can also follow us on Twitter, @Monstrous_Pod.

Help us grow the show by rating and reviewing it on iTunes and sharing with your friends and familiars. You can also support us on Patreon, at

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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