Mary The Nobody


Podcast Episode 1

Ground rumbling, accompanied by a dramatic drum tempo. A siren rings loud and clear. Foreboding music plays, and thunder crashes as heavy rain falls. An angry roar echoes across the atmosphere. There is a loud crash as a building falls down, followed by screams.

NARRATOR: Dane Kanacter may have faced his biggest challenge yet. Where he stood at the top of the school tower, he could see the earth move, folding into itself and collapsing the buildings and homes that were built on it. And he knew. The time had come for them to face the monsters. 

Dane’s superhero theme music swells.

DANE: [muttering through gritted teeth] We’ve got this. I won’t let the city fall to the monsters.

NARRATOR: As if on cue, the moving earth shuddered to a stop in front of their school. Slowly, dreadfully, the ground cracked and parted to reveal a large, wrinkled forehead, and wide brown eyes that tried their hardest to glare at Dane. 

The Earthbuster roars.

EARTHBUSTER / BILLY: I am the Earthbuster and I have come from the outside! Bow down to me, or face my dreadful wrath!

DANE: Give up now, or we’ll make you-

Dane’s voice cuts off as he falls to the ground with a thump. Superhero music cuts off.

MARY: Never, Earthbuster! Our school will never fall to scum like you!

NARRATOR: A girl Dane had never in his life seen before shoved him to the ground and shook her fist at the terrifying Earthbuster, not a hint of fear in her eyes. She was overdressed for the occasion, with badly-dyed neon pink hair, large green glasses and a yellow jumpsuit with a blue cape. Dane thought the blue cape seemed oddly familiar, like the one he had in his closet before it went missing two weeks ago. But he dismissed the thought, for the threat at hand needed his focus more than a piece of clothing.

An awkward pause as thunder booms across the sky again.

EARTHBUSTER / BILLY: Uh, okay then! [Worried, warning tone] I’m going to start throwing my earth bombs now!

MARY: Oh yeah? I’ll defeat you, wretched scum! 

Mary yells commandingly. Wind whistles, then turns around to the other direction before we hear a loud splat.

EARTHBUSTER / BILLY: Arrgh! My own earth bomb… it got in my eyes… you, uh, you fool!

MARY: Behold! Saviour of the SuperVerse! Defeater of the Earthbuster! [Louder] I’m-

There’s a loud splat and then a thump. Silence follows.


Beatboxing starts, then the sound of somebody mimicking a trumpet. More instrument noises join in, but it’s bad acapella. Music builds up as Mary starts to sing comedically.

MARY: Bada ba bup! Ever feel like you’re in the background… Doin’ your thing, nobody checkin’ you out… Well don’t feel lonely for I am here… Mary the Nobody in your ear!

Music stops abruptly with one last trumpet burst.

MARY: What’s up everybody! You heard that right, I’m Mary the Nobody and in this podcast episode, I’ll be taking you on my journey to become the protagonist of the SuperVerse! Whaaaat? You ask. Uh-huh, you’re a little confused. I get it! So here’s the situation.

I’m what you call a minor character. You know, those people in movies that exist just to fill up the space? The character nobody pays attention to because there’s more important people in the foreground? Yeah, that’s me, and the people in the foreground will be making their appearance in just a little bit, so [finger snap] stay tuned!

Yeah, so how did I get here? What’s going on? Well, it all started when I was kicked out of Dane’s little clique of superheroes. One day we were the best of friends, hanging out and practicing our superpowers all the time. And the next day, they didn’t seem to know who I was.

There is a click as the following recording starts playing.

Birds twitter occasionally in the peaceful atmosphere. Indecipherable, calm chatter can be heard in the distance. As it grows fainter, we hear Dane’s voice, stark and heated.

DANE: -How else would you explain weird black slime being found in the homes near the edge of the SuperVerse?

DOVE: Exactly. Only monsters make this kind of slime. Our excursion to the edge of the city next week would be the perfect opportunity to check this out. There has to be a crack in our city dome where this slime is seeping through, Kalé.  

KALÉ: Fine. It is suspicious. 

DANE: And dangerous. If there really is a crack, we have to seal it up before it becomes bigger. And definitely before the monsters themselves find it.

DOVE: Yera, what do you think?

YERA: I say we put the plan into action.

NARRATOR: With that, Dane, Dove, Yera and Kalé wrapped up their discussion, brows furrowed and with a newfound determination. They got ready to disperse into their classes, anxious for the following week to arrive.

MARY: [distantly] Hey guys! Wait for me! Are y’all hearing that Narrator’s voice too, or is it just me?

We hear the skipping of feet across wet grass fading in. Footsteps shift as they turn towards her. There’s a pause before Dove clears her throat. 

DOVE: I’m sorry, did you hear what we were discussing?

MARY: What? Yeah. I mean, did you try to keep it down at all? [laughs] I could hear it from all the way across the campus. It was like, broadcasted through the air. Are y’all wearing microphones? Let me see.

Mary’s foot makes a squelching sound as she steps forward to grab Kalé’s jacket. He slaps her hand away.

KALÉ: Don’t touch me.

MARY: Whoa. [chuckles nervously] Okay. Did I do something wrong? Why am I suddenly being… replaced? 

Mary’s feet shift nervously.

DOVE: Replaced? By… Yera? Why do you keep staring at her?

MARY: She-

YERA: Oh, I know what this is about. Mary… your name’s Mary, right? Please explain why you tried to break into my room a couple of days ago. And why you pointed at me and accused me of stealing your clothes.

MARY: Look, that was my room! And how-

DANE: We don’t have time for this. [sighs] Mary, whatever you heard, just please pretend you didn’t. It’s not wise to meddle in things beyond your control. Guys, let’s go. 

MARY: Wait, what? Stop, look. I don’t understand why you guys would suddenly replace me in our little friend group, but that doesn’t matter. Just- do you guys hear that voice? Narrating everything that you’re doing? Especially you, Dane. It keeps saying you’re the main character or something… Hey, wait up! Don’t walk away from me!

Clip ends with a click. Silence. Mary lets out a wry laugh.

MARY: I slowly started to figure out that I was a minor character in a story, and my previous role as a supporting character had been replaced by someone else: Yera Indlewood. Something must have gone wrong when the writer made this change, because suddenly I could hear the Narrator as an omniscient voice all the time, when nobody else could. And when Dane and his friends were out of the room, everyone would stop moving or talking, and they’d only react if I talked to them first. Other times, furniture would float around the room, only to immediately move back into place [table legs drag quickly on the floor] when their footsteps rounded the corner. And this whole time I’m just thinking to myself that I have absolutely no power over my life as a minor character. 

Pause. There is a visible strain in her voice when she speaks again, attempting a more lighthearted tone.

MARY: But hey, I’ve got to do something to turn my fate around, right? The story’s still being written, and I have a theory that minor characters might not be as powerless as we seem. For now, I’m the only one aware that we’re in a storybook, and there’s a way I could make use of that. In between scenes, I can do things that change or influence the next scene. It’s only in the story, outside of the In Between, where I really become a puppet for the writer’s pleasure. It’s safe, I guess, because I’m not even worth enough to be put in harm’s way. But I’m not satisfied with that. I want a happy ending. And the only way to do that is to replace the current protagonist. 

So- Wow! Look what we have here! The Three-Step Guide To Becoming Your Own Dane Kanacter? 

Beatboxing starts again, and a light humming tune accompanies it.

MARY: In this research journal, written by yours truly, we study main characters across a wide variety of fiction. I’ve gone through almost all the books in the school library while everyone was out panicking during the little catastrophic events, and I’ve narrowed down the three main elements that make up every single protagonist. You can’t get this in bookstores today, but you can keep listening to this podcast to find out how I put these steps into action, and — hopefully — replace Dane Kanacter as the main character!

Music stops.

MARY: [seriously, robotically] Disclaimer: All information covered in this research journal is purely for educational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, and should you decide to act upon any information in the journal, you do so at your own risk. I will not be liable to any damages caused to your city, people or life.


With that, let’s dive into the first of our three steps: A striking appearance! [cue heavenly angel sound effect] I never noticed how dull minor characters were dressed up until I became one myself. When I got replaced as a main character, I lost my friends, my identity, my reputation, but worst of all, I was robbed of my closet. 

And that, my friends, is how I ended up at the back of it, praying for my life as Yera Indlewood — who suddenly owned every one of my belongings, by the way — practiced setting her room on fire with her hands. Poor old me was just trying to take back my purple pom pom skirt to complete my superhero outfit made of [cough] stolen [cough] items from the four main characters! Before I knew it, though-

There is a scream, then a sizzling sound that explodes. Mary yelps. More explosions can be heard as she starts to run around. Rapid, heartbeat-quickening music plays.

MARY: -I was dodging fireballs and holding a burnt pom pom skirt in my hand. I’ll spare you the details.

But this also leads me to my next point in my three-step guide! To be a superhero, you’ve got to have… drumroll please! [Drumroll cues] Insane, otherworldly magical powers! [Heavenly angel sound effect plays again.] Bonus points if you thought you were talentless before!

Mary claps and whoops.

MARY: See, when the last fireball came swooping in, I had a stitch, and I paused to take a break. [Dramatic music accompanies her voice from here onwards.] But when I looked up at that flaming sphere that grew hotter and hotter as the seconds ticked by, I felt like time had slowed down, and I was staring death in the eye, slowly, dreadfully waiting for the end. Desperately, I flung a hand out. ‘Stoooooooooop!’

Dramatic pause.

MARY: Miraculously, [bright, divine sound effect, followed by great, enlightening music] the fireball stopped at my palms, and hung in the air for a moment. Then I watched before my eyes as it slowly turned a hundred and eighty degrees, and it was off! Boom! [Great clashing finish] It skimmed right past the top of Yera’s head and landed onto the wall behind her. 

And that was how I discovered my superpower. Even if it’s just to fill the space in the background, the book needs me. I’m immortal in the In-Between, because I’m not… important enough to die. [Pause.] So every hurdle that’s thrown at me, every superpower used against me will just reflect off my body. 

So, with step one and two complete, we move on to the grand finale: Stealing the show. [Boom.]

Silence. They are on a bus. The rumbling of the bus motor can be heard, as well as excited conversations. The bus comes to a stop, releasing a sound similar to a loud sigh. The doors open. We hear students’ footsteps shuffle out of the bus, their voices growing louder. Jane trudges down the bus steps. Nature sounds such as chirping birds and rustling leaves can be heard.

NARRATOR: On the outskirts of the city, the dome glistened brightly as Dane’s class arrived for an excursion. The dome, he understood, protected them from the monsters, who’d been sealed out for years now, since the Mon-Man War that ended when he was nothing but a tiny three month old. There was nothing that could be seen for miles, behind the transparent surface, except for black, burnt grass, but Dane had a nagging feeling that the scene may not last long.

TEACHER: [Distantly] Alright, we’ll give you thirty minutes to walk around the dome. Don’t stray too far, please!

The sounds of students talking increases, then decreases as Mary walks away from the pack, her footsteps growing more distinct. She continues walking as she talks.

MARY: Okay, life update. This scene has been conveniently placed for Dane and his friends to investigate the dome or whatever. Sounds boring, and I haven’t particularly liked them much since they forgot about my existence, so I’m going to stay as far away from them as possible.

Obviously, nothing’s going to happen since I’m out of the scene. I’ll be fine- [A monstrous roar interrupts her. Mary screams.]

MONSTER: [threateningly] I am the Earthbuster!

MARY: Oh! Uh, hi! Earthbuster! If you don’t mind, I’ll be on my way now. Please don’t kill me.

EARTHBUSTER: [Roars again, then cuts himself off with a hacking cough.] Sorry, I haven’t spoken in ages. Why was I angry again?


MARY: …What?

EARTHBUSTER: Ah, this is awkward. [Spritely tone.] Alright, let me introduce myself, I’m Billy! Some people call me the Earthbuster, but I don’t really like it much. Billy sounds… friendlier! Now, what do I call you? And would you mind explaining what I’m doing here? [Pause.] Wait, what did I say my name was? 

MARY: [cautiously] Billy. And I’m Mary.

EARTHBUSTER / BILLY: Oh… Billy. [Pause.] That sounds nice. Hi, Mary. 

Mary lets out a bark of realisation and claps her hands.

MARY: I’ve got it! You’re a character who hasn’t been awoken yet!

EARTHBUSTER / BILLY: Awoken… what?

MARY: [excitedly] The writer hasn’t needed you in the story yet, so you’ve just been placed here for the time being. I’m assuming you might appear in the final battle, where this dome breaks and you lead all the monsters in, and Dane Kanacter needs to slay you and your friends.


MARY: Does that make sense? See, there’s already a tiny crack here, right between you and I. And some weird, black, sticky substance leaking in from your side.


EARTHBUSTER / BILLY: I’m not quite sure whether to feel offended, or honoured, or scared. [Pause.] But now, considering what you’ve just said, I do want to enter the dome, but not for the reason you might think.

MARY: So what’s the reason…?  

EARTHBUSTER / BILLY: The earth. [Romantic music plays.] Look at these spades I have for hands. They’re made for gardening! I’m made for gardening. Out here where it’s cold, and burnt, and slimy, and unfriendly to plants… It’s torture! My dream, I tell you, is to have my own little flower bed, where I can grow tiny little tomatoes and cute little lettuce, where bees and butterflies will visit me- 

Music is abruptly cut off. Things can be heard flying in the air, crushing into the ground, while dark, dooming music grows in volume.

EARTHBUSTER / BILLY: Uh, what’s happening? Why am I- [Earthbuster / Billy roars.] Sorry, I didn’t mean to let that out- 

Earthbuster / Billy roars again. The ground rumbles and trees shake.

MARY: [Panicked babbling.] It’s Dane Kanacter. He’s coming. Everything’s falling back into place, and the crack in the dome, the crack is glowing. But why? Billy, do you hear me? Do you-

Earthbuster / Billy roars again, but this time, there’s a loud cracking sound and pounding footsteps. Dane’s superhero theme music plays in the background.

NARRATOR: Dane arrived just in time to see his classmate rooted to the ground, staring in horror at the brown, twisting body of a monster rearing its head back. There was a crack in the dome, and Dane saw with his lightning vision a strange glow surrounding it.

DANE: Get away! It’s not safe!

Mary yelps and falls to the ground with a thump. The audio cuts off.


MARY: [tired] Aaaand we’re back here at the outskirts of the city, searching for Billy the Earthbuster with a little less energy than before. 

Mary’s footsteps are uneven. Nature seems calm around her.

MARY: After yesterday’s little interruption by our supposed saviour Dane Kanacter, I ended up with a broken leg, and Billy [huff] has very conveniently been chased away from the crack. Instead of staying in the hospital, where nobody can help me anyway, because they’re all lifeless without Dane Kanacter and his little buddies in the scene, I decided to go out and search for Billy to put step three into motion. Yes, that’s stealing the show, even with a broken leg.

Pause. Mary continues huffing and puffing as she walks. She suddenly stops, and collapses on the ground, grunting as she shifts around for a comfortable spot.

MARY: The truth is, after yesterday’s episode, I’ve come to a realisation. [Pause.] I’m not immortal. I’m not even safe. In fact, in any scene the writer chooses to involve me in, I could be killed at any moment, especially in this world where monsters and humans are on the brink of war. And it would all be for the glory of the main characters. 


MARY: Whatever it is, changing my fate isn’t some sort of game anymore. It’s life and death, and… [Voice cracks.] I don’t want to die.

Mary gulps and sniffles. Then, she honks her nose very loudly and clears her throat. Suddenly, we hear the Earthbuster roar in the distance.

EARTHBUSTER / BILLY: I am the Earthbuster!

MARY: There he is. [She laughs a little.]

Heavy footsteps near. Lighthearted music replaces the sounds of nature.

EARTHBUSTER / BILLY: I am the- Oh, we meet again. Mary, right?

MARY: Yes! At least somebody in this world remembers me. Now, Billy. [She clears her throat.] We know the glass can’t be broken through, but have you ever looked at your spade-y hands and thought, hm… what if I went under?


The sound sequence from the beginning plays again, the siren ringing loud and clear. Rain pours heavily, and we hear Mary’s shaky breathing.

MARY: This is it. We’re here in the In Between, where there’s no Narrator, no main characters, no script. Just Mary the Nobody, with help from her new friend Billy, making possibly the largest change she has so far, so that she’ll finally be seen. By her old friends, and the rest of the world. 

The door drags on the floor as it is opened, and the sound of thunder and rain becomes more crisp, no longer muffled by walls.

MARY: Here goes nothing-

NARRATOR: Dane Kanacter may have faced his biggest challenge yet. 

MARY: What? Wait, we’re in the In Between. There isn’t supposed to be a Narrator-

NARRATOR: Where he stood at the top of the school tower, he could see the earth move, folding into itself and collapsing the buildings and homes that were built on it.

MARY: Stop, wait, no. What does this mean? [Tight with anxiety] What does this mean?

NARRATOR: And he knew. The time had come for them to face the monsters.

Dane’s superhero theme music swells and continues playing, before climaxing and finishing with a heavy boom. End. 

Carmen Leong (Class of 2023) writes to build temporary homes tucked far away in the nooks of her imagination. They often contain some element of fantasy, and represent her dreams for the future. Some words linger in her mind for hours.