The cop [...] says, "This is an illegal blockage! Leave or be arrested!"
Charles steps forward. He stands inches away from the big cop, intruding into his space. He tilts his head up so he can look the cop directly in the eyes. "All we want is a fair vote on the contract." Charles' eyes are piercing, his voice clear. "For us this is about how we are going to feed our babies, man. That's somethin' worth fighting for. Movin' us out of here ain't goin' to be easy."
Charles steps back a half step, then smiles his infectious smile. Cruse looks scared. The cop has softened his threatening stance. The engineer steps between the cop and the Cruse. "No way I'm going to cross this picket."
Cruse stammers and sputters. He turns to the railroad man, shouting once again, "You have to; it's your job!"
The engineer looks at Cruse. "I don't work for you. So go fuck yourself." He turns and begins to walk away, then turns back and smiles at us. "Give us a call when you get this straightened out."
There is stunned silence. Then one of the workers begins to play drums. All of us are cheering and jumping up and down. People are dancing right on the railroad tracks. Cruse appears to be in shock. Charles suddenly grabs me in a bear hug and whispers in my ear, "I ain't never hugged a white man before."