My mind breezes between things. Tring tong goes the bell, then a fist – leather gloved – pounding, pounding. Innocent Nine and I scuttle across dark carpet, try to peer between pulled drapes, but the crack left onto our corner of the world reveals nothing. Bam bam bam. The door, solid core I think, withstands another onslaught, but the hinge brasses blanch and shudder at the barrage. Innocent Nine and I exchange wide-eyed silence. Peripherally, I pick up the cheap steel deadbolt. In an instant, Nine is there sliding the bolt into place, without even a sound. He holds his head low under another volley of bams and tring tongs. Then, the noise stops. Nine bellycrawls back to me, whispers that he heard muttering, footstomps receding. Outside, a door muffles shut; a truck grunts and peels away. Innocent Nine looks up to me and he asks, “Dad, why do we hide from Swan?”
I ease back a drape in time to see the ice cream truck round the corner. Knowing he’s gone, I settle down for the moment to try to explain what Schwan’s represents, but my mind breezes between things and I find maintaining coherent thoughts to be a lot like Eskimo pies. While Eskimos have 381 descriptive words for snow, Baskin-Robbins has only 31 flavors, though that’s still more than Schwan’s offers at the door, but they do have those pies and Baskin-Robbins only deals in scoops. “Eskimos have only 1 word for pie,” I say, thinking it meaningful, but Nine, not even yet a teen, has already stopped listening.