Going to Dakar by Alan Delaney

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SUMMARY: They're reaching the end of their careers and the young upstarts are taking over. Perhaps it's time for them to move aside.

"I'm getting out."

The speaker - a tall, square-jawed man in a long woolen coat - dropped his cigarette on the ground and crushed it beneath his heel.

"Not possible, I'm afraid," came the reply from the man at his side. There's too much happening right now. We still need you."

"Bullshit, there's always things going on. You know that." Shadows danced across his face as he lit up another cigarette.

The man by his side drew in a deep breath and exhaled noisily. "Those things will kill you some day you know," he said.

"Good," replied the first speaker. He inhaled deeply, exaggerating the noise and rising of his chest. He then turned his face upwards and blew a column of smoke into the night air. "I've had it, Todd, I've just had it. I've had it with being taken for granted, I've had it with being leaned on, I've had it with being the only one who's keeping this shit together. All we've got left is you, me and a bunch of college kids. Most of them haven't even started shaving yet. They're in over their heads. I'm calling it quits, I'm getting out."

The small, bespectacled man at his side turned his head to the side to look him directly. "This is about Susan isn't it."

For a moment, the taller man ignored the question. Instead, he leaned over the edge of the bridge and watched the light from the street lamps dance across the tops of the waves. He drew another long drag from the cigarette and exhaled slowly and deliberately through gritted teeth. "No, it's not about Susan," he said finally.

"Sure it is. Ever since she..." Todd paused, fishing for the right word.

"She what, Todd?"

"Ever since she got taken out, you've been like this, haven't you? Your just walking around trying to blame everyone and everything like it was somehow our fault. You know you..."

"You're trying to say it wasn't?"

"Brian, look at me." Todd turned to face the taller man. Brian ignored him again and continued staring out towards the ocean, sucking noisily on his cigarette. "She was a plant, an insider. Frankly she's lucky she got what she did. If the Captain had gotten to her first, he would have done something an awful lot worse. Stop thinking with your dick for a mo..."

His words were cut short when a cigarette was flicked into his face, causing him to flinch backwards. "You just shut up about Susan, this 's got nothing to do with her. She didn't mean much to me, she wasn't even my type. So you can just shut up with that."

"OK, if not that then what? You weren't like this before she died."

"Yeah I was, you just didn't notice." More shadows danced across Brian's face as he lit up another cigarette. "By the way, she wasn't..." He stopped in mid-sentence when he heard the footsteps. To his right, a shaven-headed teen was walking towards them. He eyed the two men on the bridge in a gesture he thought to be aggressive. His head was bowed forward slightly, his eyes were narrow and slitted and his shoulders were hunched. The two older men turned their heads towards him slightly, nonchalantly throwing an expression of defiant disinterest in his direction but their eyes were dead, cold and unflinching.

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