They Break the Laws We Must Obey

David R Yale

They Break the Laws We Must Obey
Healthy Relationship Press
14 March 2024

They Break the Laws We Must Obey

David R Yale

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When workers get legal authority to stop industrial hazards, and successfully sue a factory owner, panicked millionaires sabotage community meetings, hire armed spies, harass their kids, and raise their real estate taxes four times over.

Teenage Friends Paul, son of a truck mechanic, and Karen, daughter of a railroad engineer, have just begun to organize their blue-collar community in Shingle Creek. Despite a blizzard of death threats, the Creekers start a daily newspaper and a radio station. Form alliances with other working-class communities. Win their lawsuit which makes the bug spray factory owner return stolen community development funds.

When the bosses force railroad track maintainers' pay below minimum wage, the whole Shingle Creek community votes to support a strike. And they manage to get a charter for an industrial safety commission which will permit them to legally repair or remove unsafe factory equipment and railroad tracks.

All of which provokes the bosses' fear and anger. A slander campaign against the Creekers gets more vicious. The county raises Shingle Creek real estate taxes by 450%. Thugs at the community meetings shift from threats to violence, which shuts down the Creekers' gatherings. Assault charges are filed against a Creeker who defended herself from a thug attack. And the police assassinate a powerful longtime Creekers' ally.

While all this happens, Paul and Karen become closer. They kiss for the first time. They're sleeping together, but not having sex. She asks him to make love. He says he can't and he doesn't know why. When she tells him she loves him, he wants to respond but his anxiety attack prevents him and keeps him from talking about his problem.

He builds a wall around himself so nobody will know he's a weakling fighting a losing battle. Karen finally confronts him about not letting her turn him on, and not telling her he loves her. He says he can't.

Karen, who has a powerful need for emotional and sexual validation, has an affair with a guy she met at the university. Paul is devastated. But he doesn't blame her. He talks with his therapist about what he has to do to win Karen back and starts taking steps to do that.

Despite their problems, Karen and Paul stand together in their commitment to lead the Creekers to victory in their fight for workers' rights.

Midwest Book Review calls They Break the Laws We Must Obey an "... outstanding ... bittersweet depiction of love, loss, growth, and social and political involvement ..."

My Mommy Questions and My Bonnie Answers, poetry excerpted from Chapter 16 was first published as Two-Poem Dialogue in Pangolin Review. They Break the Laws We Must Obey was first published as The Real Paul Makinen? Part 2.

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