Episode Twenty Eight
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Monstrous Agonies E28S01 Transcript
[Title music: slow, bluesy jazz.]
Monstrous Agonies: Episode Twenty Eight.
[The music fades out, replaced by the sound of a radio being tuned. It scrolls through classical music, a voice saying “-in Vermont-” and static before cutting off abruptly as it reaches the correct station.]
-no use crying over spilt viscera.
You're listening to the Nightfolk Network, on 131.3FM. Up next, I'll be answering questions about life in the creature community.
Our first letter tonight is from a listener whose partner is struggling with an unexpectedly intimate encounter.
The Presenter (as First Letter Writer)
My queerplatonic partner and I have a bit of an issue, and I'm starting to get very worried about them.
To start off, I'm aromantic but not asexual, and they're asexual, but not aromantic, which is a surprise for some people, but in the three years we've been together has never caused any issues. At least until now.
We're quite physically intimate, but never sexually, and I would never want to press them into something they're uncomfortable doing.
About eleven months ago, they became a member of the creature community, which, I'm not personally a part of, and we've been able to work though lifestyle changes to adapt to it pretty well. They work from home as a graphic designer, so becoming nocturnal wasn't too hard, and I've been able to move to later shifts, so our sleep schedules aren't an issue. Though it's a little weird being the early bird for once!
I've dug up the plants they can no longer tolerate so they can keep gardening, and we've even managed to score some night-blooming flowers. [laughing] It's funny, I used to think people who went trekking about the hills at night were idiots, but it's hard not to feel safe when I know my partner's out there.
One thing that has been tricky is food. We both used to be big foodies and eating meals together has always been an important part of our daily lives. We still keep each other company while we eat, but now my partner's restricted to a diet of blood.
The town we live in is remote, so while they're able to get some it's not usually enough, and from my Googling efforts, getting more delivered this far out seems to be a pretty expensive option.
They started getting faint and eventually even passed out. So, I volunteered to give the whole feeding thing a go. Once every two weeks, I took the night off work, they'd feed, and then we'd marathon something on Netflix or listen to one of their podcasts, while they made sure I got food and water, and wasn't too woozy from the blood loss. It worked out really well, and actually became something I started looking forward to.
After going down a bit of an internet rabbit hole one night, my partner discovered a lot of people view this sort of feeding in a very... sexual light. I already knew this, and had assumed they did too.
We already hold hands and cuddle and sometimes even shower together. But because neither of us intended it as romantic or sexual I've never considered it to be! And I just assumed this would be the same.
It wasn't, though. They were really uncomfortable with it, and even refused to speak to me for a couple days. I know their previous partners haven't always respected their boundaries, so while, yes, it stings a little that they don't entirely trust me, I also don't blame them for freaking out.
They've relaxed a bit since then, but they aren't getting enough to eat. It's been almost six weeks now, and the get dizzy spells and headaches are back.
Neither of us is keen to uproot our lives here. But I'm getting seriously worried about their health! So unless we can organise a more affordable food supply, we'll probably have to start seriously considering moving.
How can I help ease their worries about my intentions? And do you have any resources or suggestions on where to get them the dietary support they need?
The Presenter (as themselves)
I'm hearing two distinct concerns here, listener. First is how your partner can feed without excessive financial cost. And second, how to ease your partner's concerns about the intimate nature of your feeding sessions.
I hope you've already investigated registering with your local blood bank for deliveries on the NHS. However, I recognise that waiting lists for such services can be prohibitively long, with resources stretched thin in this unglamorous, and politically unpopular branch of the health service.
Iron supplements could help keep your partner's energy levels topped up between feeds. Depending on their genus they might also be able to feed on more easily accessible products such as black pudding.
Do be sure to research this carefully beforehand. For some genuses, consuming matter other than blood can cause severe gastrointestinal distress. Your partner should check with their GP before making any significant changes to their diet.
One solution that might meet both of your concerns is the purchase of an at-home exsanguinator. This would mean you could still give your partner your own blood to feed on, but would eliminate the element of physical intimacy.
There is nothing inherently sexual about feeding on another person. There is, however, something inarguably intimate about the act, and it sounds like your partner is finding it hard to separate those two ideas in this particular situation.
You are already intimate with each other in different ways – for example, showering together. It's clear that non-sexual, physical intimacy has been a healthy and fulfilling aspect of your relationship for some time now. It might help your partner to be able to categorise their feeding alongside those other intimate, physical acts.
Your partner's reaction is not based on their experiences with you/ Rather, it's tied to their previous relationships and the trauma of having their boundaries breached in the past.
With that in mind, it is of the utmost importance that you make it clear they never have to engage in an act they're uncomfortable with. Let them know that if they never want to feed from you again, it's alright. And if they do decide to try again and subsequently change their mind, that's alright too. What matters is that they are fed and healthy, and that you are both able to draw your own boundaries, and have your needs met, as part of the relationship.
There is no quick fix here, listener. But hopefully, as your partner's physical needs are met, you will both find time and space to find a solution for your emotional needs.
[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]
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Our second letter tonight is fro- No. No, absolutely not! I will not be strong-armed by some jumped-up, self-important-
[struggling sounds, trying to fight off the words, crescendoing to a shout.]
The Presenter (as Second Letter Writer)
[a satisfied sigh] So. I have this... associate. [laughing] Oh, we go way back. Perhaps once I might have called us friends but I'm afraid that ship has sailed.
You see, in order to be a friend, I believe one has to conduct oneself with a modicum of respect towards the other person. And this associate of mine has unfortunately shown themselves incapable of treating me with dignity.
I wouldn't say things were amicable between us. There is altogether too much water under that particular bridge to make that possible. But we kept ourselves to ourselves, and when our respective arenas of influence happened to cross... Well, I was always perfectly civil, at least.
And then, at some signal quite unknown to me, apparently this peace was ended! My associate deemed it appropriate to stick their nose into business that was not theirs to discuss, revealing information that was not theirs to disclose.
Now, I am someone who wishes to think the best of people – even if their past behaviour makes that difficult. So I tried to reach out to them, gently, and make them aware of their... little mistake.
It wouldn't have taken much to smooth things over. A public apology. A recognition of fault. I am nothing if not forgiving.
Apparently my associate disagrees. They have publicly insulted me, undermined my authority, and shown a blatant disregard for my feelings. But I'm concerned about addressing the problem, since they seem to take everything I do so very personally.
Under normal circumstances, I would simply engage with them privately. But unfortunately, they are refusing to respond to my attempts to communicate, leaving me no other option but this.
How do I encourage them - kindly, gently, with great care for their clearly delicate feelings, to get down off their high horse, admit their wrongdoing and give me the respect I deserve?
The Presenter (as themselves)
Gosh, listener, this certainly sounds like quite a pickle! I know other people's perspectives are not generally, of interest to you, but I really think it might help the situation to see how things might look from your acquaintance's point of view.
Firstly, there is a difference between respecting your existence, and bowing to your authority. Your acquaintance has no obligation to you. They are not under your power, they are not one of your subjects, and they are free to act as they see fit. If you consider this a personal affront? That's your problem.
Secondly, I imagine you're correct in thinking that your acquaintance has not been factoring your feelings into the equation. This is very likely because you have all the emotional depth of a stagnant puddle in high summer, and your acquaintance did not wish to waste time on a futile exercise.
You mention that your acquaintance has not been responding to your attempts to communicate. Did the thought ever cross your tiny, fluff-filled, candyfloss mind that perhaps they don't want to communicate with you? [increasingly angry] That your insistence on doing so in a context that you know obliges them to respond shows a blatant disregard for their boundaries, and once again shows you to be the same vain, self-centred churl that you have always been, and that it is little wonder “the ship has sailed” when it comes to your friendship when you have proven yourself time and again to be utterly incapable of thinking about another person for once in your ridiculous, frivolous life?
Let me be perfectly clear. If you interfere with my programming again, there will be repercussions. You know me well enough- [laughing bitterly] God knows you know me well enough to realise that this is no empty threat. Whatever affection there may once have been between us is long passed, and I will not hesitate to take action against you if you insist on forcing my hand.
[Background music begins: An acoustic guitar playing a blues riff]
131.3FM – the voice of liminal Britain.
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It's time for book club. This month – Mrs Caliban, by Rachel Ingalls. Virtually ignored on its release in 1982, this rediscovered treasure about an amphibious-
[The Presenter's voice fades into static as the radio is retuned. It scrolls through music, a voice saying “-your health is everything-”, a voice saying “-ten points, nice-” and static before fading out.
Title music: slow, bluesy jazz. It plays throughout the closing credits.]
Episode Twenty Eight of Monstrous Agonies was written and performed by H.R. Owen.
This episode's first letter was based on an anonymous submission. Thanks, mystery friend!
To submit your own letters and suggestions, head over to our website at MonstrousAgonies.co.uk, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on Tumblr at Monstrous Agonies.
I also want to say hello and thank you to our latest supporters on Patreon, Grin and Jeebs! Join them at patreon.com/MonstrousAgonies.
You also can support the show by rating and reviewing it on iTunes and sharing the programme with your friends and familiars.
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.
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