Fish in a barrel. Darryl had heard that phrase many times, without ever really picturing it. He just knew it was something that was supposed to be easy. Granted, he didn’t know why anyone was shooting fish in the first place, at least not until he learned that was a way people actually fished.
Then the phrase took on a different meaning for him. It was no longer just something that was easy, though it was still that, but something that was unfair. Fishing wasn’t really a sport, he supposed, but there was supposed to be that sort of veneer. It was up to the fish whether they took the bait, or there was some skill in trying to spear (or shoot, apparently) them, after all. There was supposed to be some skill, and the possibility the fish could continue on with their life without ever knowing they were in danger.
That was completely gone when they were in a barrel, where you couldn’t miss if you tried.
His brother liked shooting fish in a barrel. Not literally, but the sentiment applied. He enjoyed setting up situations where he would win and no one would be able to stop him because there was no way they could even try. It was what changed his understanding of the phrase and one of the many reasons they hadn’t spoken in fifteen years.
So it was a surprise when he got a call from his brother, asking for his help.
It had to be a setup. That was his first thought. He didn’t even feel guilty for it. His second thought was that if his brother was really in trouble, he should probably help him. He didn’t have any reason to help him, other than some tenuous claim about being family. Given how their family had worked, he didn’t really rely on that. But he knew he would feel guilty if he didn’t even bother to find out what was going on.
So he answered. He agreed to meet him in a coffee shop to find out more, since it seemed it was not something that could be explained over the telephone. Given he was still wary, he made sure to pick the coffee shop, even chose one in a city neither of them lived in. It was about all he could do.
He got to the coffee shop about a half-an-hour before time, choosing a table in the corner. He had two coffees, to make sure he had enough to hold the table, and then drank them slow while he waited. His brother arrived twenty minutes late. It was not an auspicious beginning.
Especially not when his brother sank down into the seat, complaining about having to come so far and dressed for the office.