Motion Pictures

Do you ever feel like you’re in a movie? Walking down a street, or sitting at a bar, are you ever struck with a sense that you’re in a dramatic moment? Like, suddenly a car chase is unfolding in front of you, or you’re a private eye and the guy at the end of the bar has some information but he looks like the sort who won’t give it up until you smash your beer bottle and point the shard at his throat and make it clear that you mean business. That ever happen to you?

Today’s movie was an old war movie. Could have been World War 2, or the Civil War, or maybe one of the Crusades. One side of the Riverwalk was a fortress. The bank of the river had been built up behind a concrete wall thirty feet high. A black-iron fence sat atop the wall, spiked to keep intruders out. Stone columns rose up for support. No sign of activity at this time of night, but I could hear the whispers of the sentries.

Behind me, the sounds of industry. Great siege engines were blowing steam and belching smoke. Soldiers were huddled around fires. The light from the flames reached out across the water like fingers (ugh, too much symbolism, I hate it when the director does that). The men knew what daunting task lay ahead tomorrow. That wall wasn’t about to move.

I looked up. Above the trees I could see the top of a white tower. Even at night, the tower shone, as if it were surrounded by permanent daylight. The tower must have stood a thousand feet high, to be visible from the riverbank. Mounted atop the turret was the flag, flying left to right, held unfurled by the wind. Just below the battlements, one word, in bold blue letters. The tower’s owner, perhaps, but also a call to action: “PIONEER.”

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