On the morning of my wedding, I threw up in the shower after realizing that I had forgotten my white shirt at home. I cleaned myself and then went downstairs to find my groomsman Adam in the kitchen of our rented house. “Can you drive me back to my apartment?” I asked. “And can we stop for some Gatorade on the way?”

We call Adam “Boots” so hereafter I’ll refer to him as such. He drove me the twenty miles north back to Saco in his humble blue pickup truck. There was a CB radio in the cab. I asked him if he had a handle, like a truck driver.

“Boots, I guess,” he said. “I don’t use it. It might not work.”

Challenge accepted. I unhooked the black microphone from its base. The plastic coiling looped around itself, tangled from underuse. When I was a kid, my parents had a rotary phone, and one of the greatest pleasures of my young life was letting out the snarls of the receiver’s spiral cord. I did as much in Boots’ truck and hummed a low note of satisfaction.

We passed a police car parked behind an overpass on the southbound side of the highway. I pressed the button on the microphone and spoke.

“Breaker, breaker,” I said. “We got a bear trap on mile ten of 95 South. Watch your six. This is Boots. Ten-seven.”

A voice came on over the scratchy waves. “Cool it, bucket mouth,” it said.

Bucket mouth—what does that mean?” I asked Boots, holding the microphone to my chest like you do with a phone when you don’t want to be audible on the other end.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Turn that off. We’re going to get in trouble.”

“Ten-four, old buddy,” I said, and placed the microphone back on the radio’s base.

“Is this your exit?” asked Boots.

“Yeah, this one,” I said.

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is 20 years old! This is the best track off the album, end of discussion.

[Photo by Andrew Fulo]

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