Disclaimer: no recognizable characters are mine. Just playing with them and putting them back where they belong, slightly less than in mint condition. But really, was "Howling Mad" Murdock in mint condition anyway?

Enjoy!


"Fruitcake!"

Murdock liked fruitcake, with its dense, crumbly mouthfeel and soft bits of candied fruit and dates, like hidden treasures.

"Nuts!"

Walnuts, usually, but good fruitcakes had pecans, and anything that was meant to be tropically inspired had macadamia nuts.

"Cuckoo!"

Nope. No birds. Maybe they were thinking of four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie?

"Lunatic!"

No moon involved, either.

"Crackpot!"

"Loon!"

Birds again? Or was that short for lunatic? Sloppy, people.

"Psycho—schizo—kook nutjob freak—"

Murdock had heard them all before. Not much bothered him; he took to the nickname "Howling Mad" with an almost triumphant glee, even if it was first meant as something derogatory. And since joining John Hannibal Smith's team, he was even higher above the subtle and not-so-subtle name-calling that followed him like a particularly annoying mosquito for a majority of his life.

He even took pleasure in B.A.'s new moniker for him: simply Crazy. He sensed the underlying fondness in it.

So were the words inaccurate? Mostly. Did he care? Only a little. So then . . . did they hurt?

Yes.

Yes they hurt.

Because fruitcake was an innocent bystander, a sensitive soul, and shouldn't be dragged into it.