playing the sacrificial mule


Senior Member
Hi all, please explain to me the meaning of the bold one in this context. It's from Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick.

Probably Patch is a drug dealer. No. Probably he’s an arms dealer and has Rixon out playing the sacrificial mule, gunrunning for free and risking his neck.

  • kitenok

    Senior Member
    This strikes me as a mixed metaphor, minhduc. Normally we might use the phrase "sacrificial lamb" to describe someone who is put in a dangerous position so that others remain safe. We might also use "mule" as a metaphor for someone who carries something (in this case, guns) for someone else. In this case, the author has combined the two into "sacrificial mule." It's not a common expression, but it is easily understandable.
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