Seanan McGuire (seanan_mcguire) wrote,
Seanan McGuire

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InCryptid Q&A, Part VIII: Bogeymen.

So remember when I said that I would answer ten questions about the InCryptid universe? I'm still taking questions, but here's your eighth answer!

vixyish asks...

"What is bogeyman society like? So far on paper we've only met them singly. Are there bogeyman communities, do they live in family groups, that kind of thing, or do they prefer to live alone, each with their own territory? And how do they find mates?"

Bogeymen! Now, remember, that "bogeyman" and "bogeymen" is considered gender-neutral as a species term, much like "human." So while all bogeymen are people, there is no such thing as a "bogeywoman," and you will in fact be gutted stem to stern if you try to use the term. "Bogeyboy" and "bogeygirl" are likewise incorrect, unless you're talking to a bunch of teenage bogeymen who want to piss off their parents. It's a phase. They generally grow out of it. "Bogeydude" is never correct. "Bogeybabe," sometimes correct during courtship, because it's just wrong and naughty enough to be attractive. I do not recommend you try it unless you're dating a bogeyman who has already shown herself to enjoy dirty language. Now, onward to the actual question:

Bogeymen live in a culture of commerce. Everything is based on purchase value and exchange rate, even though much of their commerce is done via barter. Maybe especially because most of their commerce is done via barter. When getting a cookie requires an hour's labor, or two dead rats for the dinner menu, you know the value of a cookie a lot more than you would if it only cost you a dollar. Bogeyman parents begin teaching their children about commerce by the age of two, to prepare them for exiting the family unit and entering society. Note that there is no "hard and fast" line for leaving said family unit: a bogeyman who proves to have no nose for commerce may be kept permanently at home, considered a functional child but protected from the realities of the world, or else sold as a servant to a larger family unit (assuming said bogeyman is a skilled enough laborer to do the work, and is just lacking the skill set necessary to be a free-living, independent member of society).

Family units will generally consist of a "head of household," IE, "whoever put down the most collateral toward purchasing and furnishing the living space," his or her spouse or spouses, and any unmarried siblings with no interest in having children or households of their own. All adults are expected to work for their keep, but this work can include maintaining the house and caring for the children. Anyone who chooses those jobs will be paid by the rest of the household, fairly for their labor, and is thus considered to be contributing fully. Despite being a primarly barter-based economy, bogeymen do covet money, which they will put aside to sustain them in case of illness. Should an adult member of the household fall ill, they will pay their family to care for them. This may seem cruel, from a human perspective, but the bogeymen have spent a long time being hunted, hated, and hurt: they want to know that they are never a burden, and that any time lost caring for someone who should have been able to care for themselves will be repaid. It's a matter of pride. Note that, should someone run out of money, they will go into debt; they will not be turned away. Bogeyman funerals often involve the symbolic laying of debt upon the coffin, releasing any descendants from the burden, and it is considered the height of ill manners to try to enforce minor debts incurred by the dead, unless those debts were incurred in bad faith.

Bogeyman communities can be quite large, and almost entirely subterranean, due to the nocturnal nature of bogeymen as a species and the "kill it with fire" reactions that many humans tend to have. The bogeyman community in Manhattan is numbered in the thousands, as are the communities in Seattle and Chicago. Smaller cities will usually have smaller bogeyman communities, and they will sometimes resort to buying apartment buildings, turning them into "special communities for graveyard shift employees," and then colonizing the individual units. This can result in someone being the only human in a building full of bogeymen, which rarely ends well.

When a bogeyman comes of age to marry, they will sit down with their parents and fairly and logically assess themselves. Skills, appearance, medical history, it all goes into setting their price. Everyone has a price. It's not men buying women; it's couples buying each other. Sometimes parents will make a wedding gift to the couple by making up the difference if one of them can't afford the other. ("But Mom! Daniel costs twice what I do and I really love him!" "Okay, okay, instead of a cake, we'll buy you a husband.") If there's no one local that somebody wants to buy, they may take their assessed value and go traveling, working their way through the local communities while they search for a spouse. Offers of purchase can be refused; some couples are committed but apart for years while they earn the necessary money to start their lives together. It's customary for the parents on both sides to gift the young couple with part or all of their mutual purchase price at the wedding, allowing them to buy a home and begin establishing themselves. In this case, the head of household will almost always be the one with the higher initial cost.

Bogeymen love their children, and will do virtually anything for them. They're very human, in that regard. This does mean that same-sex couples will buy and sell their favors to each other—essentially, "if you get me pregnant, and forswear the child, you can also get my wife pregnant, and keep the child." Bogeymen who don't want children are not treated poorly, as they can add value to other households by providing additional adults to help keep things running smoothly. The population is high enough at this point that some loss of genetic diversity can be endured.

I like bogeymen. They're dishonest with outsiders and very honest with each other, and they take care of their own.
Tags: a few facts, incryptid, midnight bluelight special
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