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Pushing the Devil

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            This was just not Daredevil's night.


            He had interrupted what he thought was a mugging in an alley behind a new but not long for this world bakery, but it turned out he'd actually interfered with a mob hit on a suspected snitch. The snitch took advantage and ran like hell. Daredevil, not so much.

            Normally, Matt could handle four mooks. But normally, he wouldn't have already been in three fights that night, he'd know he was going up against large men who knew how to fight, and they wouldn't all have lead pipes at hand. One of them landed a pipe directly on his left kneecap and that was pretty much the end of the fight; Matt fell to the ground, one of the mooks had a knife, and it was over after that.

            The last thing Matt was aware of before he bled to death, was being tossed into the bakery's dumpster. Because of course it was a dumpster.



            "Hey, boss!" the youngest and dumbest of the mooks exclaimed as they returned to the garage that served as home base. "Guess what we did, huh? Guess!"

            "I don't do guesses," grumbled the old man, and he punched the young idiot in the gut.

            "We killed the Daredevil," an older and somewhat wiser mook offered.

            The boss was not impressed. "Then where is he? I won't believe that son-of-a-bitch is dead until he's lying at my feet ice cold."

            His henchmen were silent. It never occurred to them to bring the corpse along with them.

            One of them poked the dumb one. "Go back and get the stiff for the boss."

            "Why me?" whined the kid.

            "'cause we said so," said the poker, "so go fish 'im out of the trash."



            The facts were these. It was late, so Ned decided to shut The Pie Hole for the night. He hauled the trash out to the dumpster, tossed in the bag without looking and started to leave, when he noticed the bag was hanging halfway out of the dumpster. The pie-maker didn't want trouble with the garbagemen, so he pushed the bag in the dumpster further. For good measure, he pushed it down. There was a spark of light. Ned knew what that meant. "Oh dear," he said.

            The man in the superhero suit sat up in the dumpster, clearly very surprised to be alive. "What the..."

            "I am so sorry," Ned apologized to the man he knew was called the Daredevil, though he had no idea why. Why he was called Daredevil, not why Ned was apologizing, he knew why he was doing that. "I had no idea you were in there."

            "In where...oh. Why is it always a dumpster?" grumbled the Daredevil.

            "I don't know - is it always a dumpster?" asked the pie-maker, even more confused.

            "I thought I was dead."

            "You were."

            "I was?"

            "Very, I think. I tossed trash on you and you didn't notice."

            "Then how am I not dead?"

            "I accidentally revived you," explained the pie-maker.

            "You what?"

            "I brought you back from the dead," Ned repeated patiently. He had this conversation a lot.


            "I didn't mean to, I must have brushed against your corpse and it happened."


            "And you have about 40 seconds before you're dead again," Ned continued.


            "I have to touch you again in - 35 seconds - so you're dead for good. It was nice meeting you."

            "Wait. What?"

            "If I don't make you dead again, someone else will die, and that really wouldn't be fair to them, would it?"

            "Um, no. But how do you know - "

            "This happens a lot."



            It was at this exact moment that a car pulled up and the dumb kid jumped out with the intention of retrieving the recently deceased Daredevil. He didn't expect the Daredevil to be alive. Or for the pie-maker to be there. "Shit," he said.

            The Daredevil tried to stand. "That's one of the guys who killed me," he snarled.

            "Really?" said Ned.

            "Yeah," said the dumb one. "I knifed him in the kidney. You shoulda seen the blood."

            "Sorry I missed it," said the pie-maker, and started to reach for the Daredevil. There were only a few seconds left before...hmm, thought the pie-maker. A superhero, or a killer idiot. That's not so tough, is it? "Good news," Ned told the Daredevil. "You're going to live."

            "I am?" the Daredevil asked.

            "He is?" asked the dumb one.

            Then the dumb one fell over dead.

            "Do I even want to know?" asked the Daredevil.

            Ned pondered this. "Nope," he answered.


            "Hang on a minute, I have something to give you," said the pie-maker, rushing back into the bakery for a moment, then returning to hand a gift to the Daredevil. "It really was nice to meet you. Glad I didn't have to kill you."

            ", too?" said the Daredevil, still very confused.

            "Oh, and one more thing - you probably shouldn't come back. If I touch you again you're dead. Nothing personal."



            The next morning Foggy Nelson was pleasantly surprised by what he saw in the firm's tiny kitchen. "Hey Karen!," he yelled, "who brought the pie?"