It’s not Wally. (Sobs and takes down the thumbtacks and string)
But who is left?
Darin? Fat chance. The only time Boy Lisa ever risks his life is in his dreams.
But I don’t know if Mason knows Montoni’s layout intimately enough for this stunt… We’ve never seen the action star on the roof, or in the back room.
But then again, who does that leave?
Only one man.
Suspect: ‘Kahn/ Khan’ (Possibly an alias?)
Background: Khan hails from the wild hills of Afghanistan. He was a bandit leader, drug dealer, and gun runner, who held Wally captive for months hoping to sell him to anyone willing to pay, even presumably American enemies, so the buyer could in turn make ransom demands.
Wally charmed Khan with chess and pictures of American women, stalling for enough time to signal allies and escape. Rana’s older sister found Wally and helped to hide him from the desperately searching Khan, and eventually led him to an American airfield.
When Wally and Becky returned to Afghanistan with an NGO mine clearing organization, they hired a local liaison to work as their guide and driver, and he turned out to be Khan.
Khan seemed overjoyed to be reunited with Wally, and Wally was pretty gracious to a man who had intended to sell him for cash.
On one of their last days in Afghanistan, Wally stepped on a landmine. Knowing it might trigger when he stepped off, he told Khan to leave him and drive a safe distance away.
Instead Kahn attempted to defuse it,
And when he couldn’t decided that he would bat the mine right out of the air in a stunt more nonsensical and ballsy than anything Crankshaft has ever rigged up with Bean’s End Merchandise and lighter fluid.
They return to the city to find that the Afghan family that’d helped Wally escape from Kahn before had exploded in a car bomb attack, leaving only Rana, the orphan Becky and Wally immediately decided to adopt.
A few months after the family returns to the US, Kahn walks into Montoni’s asking for Wally.
And like anyone who ever walks into Montoni’s, this murderer, drug dealer, and former terrorist is offered a job there on the spot.
Kahn arrived mere moments before the fateful letter that Wally was to be redeployed to Iraq, where he is blown up and captured again.
Post-time skip. Kahn is still working at Montoni’s.
Wally returns home in summer 2009 and takes a job at Montoni’s February the next year, but we get no strips of Wally and Kahn in a panel together because Batiuk is boring and unimaginative and I hate him.
In 2011, we are informed that Kahn has received American citizenship and has opened a Deli next door to Montoni’s
In 2014, Wally and Funky notice a ‘Going out of Business’ sign on the door and go in to talk to Kahn. He says he intends to move back to Afghanistan.
Spelling change why?
And that’s it. That’s the last time we’ve ever seen or heard of Kahn.
1.) Khan is tall, male, slim and, while darker complected than other characters, light skinned enough.
2.) Khan is a former bandit leader who was allowed American citizenship. This implies that he must have turncloaked and aided the Americans enough to receive some significant favors.
3.) Khan was an employee, and manager of Montoni’s for years, he would be very familiar with the building.
4.) Khan once batted a landmine away with a wooden board. The man has no fear.
Why would Khan do this?
To figure this out, I had to archive dive and see what was happening in the Funkyverse, and specifically Montoni’s, in the time leading up to the first appearance of the Pizza Monster. And, in the year before, Wally finished college and was made not only a manager, but seemingly a part owner of Montoni’s.
In his final semester of college, he also befriended Iraqi immigrant Adeela, and reconnected with his adopted Afghan daughter Rana. Rana told him that following graduation she intended go back to Afghanistan to teach in a girl’s school.
And, who may have Rana looked up in Afghanistan to help her get the lay of the land? Mayhaps her old family friend Khan?
So Khan hears that Wally is now in line to inherit the Montoni’s pizza fortune. So what?
So. We know two things about Khan. He admires Wally Winkerbean. And he didn’t think all that highly of Funky.
I think it all boils down to the landmine incident. Wally had every reason in the world not to value Khan’s life, and to hate him. Khan was a murderer who had indirectly killed his friends. And the only comeuppance Wally sees fit to give him is a black eye.
Khan also seems touched and impressed that Becky and Wally would adopt Rana with no reservations.
When they first met, Khan had only seen Wally’s life in terms of how much money he could make. But when his own life is in danger, Wally tells Khan to leave and save himself. Khan makes a daring gamble, puts both their lives on the line, and miraculously they both walk away. But is that enough to make up for the months and months Khan held him captive?
Kahn follows this admirable man to America. When Wally is presumed KIA, Kahn stays working at Montoni’s for years, ragging on Funky for neglecting the restaurant Wally had so loved.
When Wally returns from a traumatic captivity, so similar to what he had already been subjected to, maybe Kahn keeps his distance so as to not remind him? Maybe Khan leaves Montoni’s to make space for Wally’s advancement? Maybe he only leaves Westview once Wally seems stable and secure: newly engaged to Rachel, going back to school etc.
And now, Wally’s daughter tells him that, once Funky retires, Wally will have the whole restaurant. The entire pizza empire of Westview. The only thing standing in the way of his hero is the fat aging blowhard he never respected.
So, Kahn uses his US Citizenship to return to the states, and plans a series of drastically escalating pranks designed to drive Funky crazy and send him into an early retirement.
Still not convinced?
Remember last year, when the Pizza Monster was able to keep Mr. Monster from unmasking him by suggesting he was a woman?
Well, during Wally’s daring escape from Khan, Wally used the exact same ploy. Completely covered in head to toe, and using Khan’s people’s reluctance at revealing the female form to maintain his disguise. Khan had learned from the tricks of his friend.
So, Kahn is the Pizza Monster. Canon.
But why does Rachel look so enamoured with the PBM today? Does he remind her of someone?
It’s been a fun two weeks! Beckoning Chasm takes over tomorrow. Happy Halloween everyone!