It had been three months since the meteor strike and Pedro Punchinski
still had no idea how to monetize his newfound power. The ability to
punch objects with superhuman force seems like one of those things you
could use to your advantage, but so far, Pedro’s greatest success in
that area was when he passed the vending machine at the post office,
saw a stuck bag of peanut M&M’s and punched the machine until the
candy fell free.
Pedro hadn’t had a job since the meteor destroyed the Menard’s where
he worked as a cashier. The other 44 employees on duty that day were
either killed or taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Only Pedro
emerged with a superpower. But you can’t pay your Comcast bill with
superhuman punching ability, and Pedro had recently become enamored
with on-demand episodes of the HBO show “Entourage.” He figured that
even if he binge-watched day and night, he still couldn’t get through
all eight seasons before his next bill was due.
One morning, Pedro grabbed a hand towel and some scissors and
fashioned a crude mask, tying it around his enormous half-Mexican,
half-Polish head. He grabbed a white undershirt and scrawled in green
Sharpie, “Will punch for money.” Pedro squeezed into the T-shirt and
hit the streets. Within moments, Pedro found a woman screaming for
help in an Aldi parking lot.
“My baby is trapped under this truck!” she screamed.
Pedro lumbered over to her. “I’ll help you,” he said.
“Who are you?” the woman asked.
“I’m The Puncher,” Pedro announced proudly. He drew back his fist and
punched the truck so it flew over on its side. What was left of the
baby remained behind, flattened on the ground. “That’ll be 20
dollars,” Pedro announced.
“But my baby is dead,” the mother said.
“Twenty dollars,” Pedro repeated.
“No,” she said.
Pedro pointed to the words on his shirt. The woman shook her head.
Pedro realized he had no leverage in this negotiation. It’s not like
you can un-punch something. Besides, Pedro figured he’d better get out
of there before the truck owner came back to find his Ford F-150 on
Pedro spent the rest of the day walking through town, periodically
stopping people on the street to ask them if they needed anything
punched. To Pedro’s surprise, no one did. As the sun set, Pedro
started making his way back home when he bumped into Richard J
Filthington, the richest man in town.
“Excuse me!” Filthington shouted as he adjusted his top hat and monocle.
“Sorry,” Pedro replied.
Filthington read the message on Pedro’s shirt. “Punch things for
money, eh?” he asked.
“Yes,” Pedro said.
“Do you know who I am?” Filthington asked. “I’m Richard J Filthington,
a proud half-Canadian half-Jamaican and the richest man in town. I
have a monopoly on the gravel industry in this county and business is
booming. I could use a man like you.”
Pedro blinked and raised his enormous half-Polish, half-Mexican head.
“Why, yes!” Filthington bellowed. “I need someone to punch big rocks
into gravel. Could you do that?”
“Sure!” Pedro said. “Does it pay well?”
“But of course,” Filthington replied. “Why do you think I’m so rich?
Everyone needs gravel!”
“Well, maybe I could just go into business for myself,” Pedro said.
Filthington narrowed his eyes. “Do you know the first thing about
business? There are permits to fill out. Are you going to be a
corporation or an LLC? You need e-mail addresses and social media
accounts. And let me tell you, young man, @gravel is already taken on
Twitter.” Filthington paused for dramatic effect. “Taken by me!” he
Pedro considered going to the library and learning about all this
business stuff, but he couldn’t risk that Comcast bill going unpaid.
He reluctantly agreed, showing up to Filthington’s gravel factory the
next morning, still wearing his mask and T-shirt to protect his
identity. His first stop was human resources, where he was greeted by
a blonde half-Pakistani, half-Korean woman named Becky.
“Okay, we just need you to fill out some paperwork,” Becky chirped.
Pedro looked down at the papers and froze. They wanted his name,
address and social security number. “Uh, I can’t fill this out,” Pedro
“Why not?” Becky asked.
“You’ll know my secret identity,” Pedro said.
Becky looked confused. “Aren’t you Pedro Punchinski?” she asked.
Pedro was stunned. “How did you know?”
Becky blushed. “You danced with me at homecoming freshman year.”
Pedro blinked. “Becky Harrington?”
“That’s me,” she said.
“But you’re so obese now!” Pedro offered.
“I know,” she smiled. “I had an eating disorder in high school, but I
kicked it in college.”
“That’s pretty fucked up,” Pedro said.
“I know!” Becky said. “I was just going to order four pizzas for
lunch. Do you want me to order eight and we can catch up?”
“Nah,” Pedro said. “I need get to work for Mr. Filthington so I can
earn money to pay my Comcast bill. I’m trying to catch up on
“Why didn’t you say so?” Becky smiled. “I can just give you my HBO Go password!”
“Really?” Pedro yelped as he ran over to hug as much of Becky as he
could get his arms around.
That night, Pedro sat at home, watching an episode where Eric starts
his new job, and immediately clashes with colleague Scott Lavin over
Bob Saget, who makes a very unusual request which leaves both Scott
and Eric at odds with each other. Vince's home is broken into, and Ari
and Turtle seem to be more concerned about it than Vince, especially
given that the only thing missing is the underwear. Drama tries to
make amends with his boss but only succeeds in worsening the
Also that night, a schoolbus full of children was trapped when the
tunnel under Mount Risley collapsed. Rescuers jackhammered the
landslide for 30 hours, eventually reaching the bus and finding all of
the passengers dead. Filthington Gravel helpfully hauled away the
debris at no charge.