Howdy! I'm Abner. You may have seen me traipsing around town, probably looking like I just came down from the mountains, and haven't had time to spiffen up my rough edges yet. You see, I spend a lot of time out there on Wild Side.1 I must have climbed every mountain from here to Fargone. My friend Vern Acular says I've missed a couple, but if that's true, I don't think they should count. No sense wandering all over creation looking for a mountain that doesn't want to be found.
Now, Vern ... well, you might have to go quite a ways out the Yonder Track to find Vern, on account of he almost never comes Town Side. He's what you call a field researcher. I don't know why. I mean, what kind of field gets searched so often, you need to hire somebody to research it?
Anyway, Vern's a bit hard to find, but he's a good person to take along if you find yourself on any kind of backcountry quest. He knows every rock and tree and fire-breathing beastie south of the sun. He's gotten me out of more scrapes than a spatula, and you can read about some of our latest adventures in my book The Legend of Pedestrio.
But if it's me you're looking for, why, you might want to start your inquiries down at Elmer's Cafe. Not too many folks know about Elmer's — it's not a very big place, and it's pretty well hidden. Sometimes Elmer gets the odd tourist or two come wandering in off the backstreets, but it's a rare visitor who comes back for a second visit. You see, the thing is, there are no booths nor tables at Elmer's Cafe. No quiet corners to hide in. There's only just a counter and nine stools — and newcomers quickly find the conversation down at Elmer's can be a mite hard to follow. But nobody sits at Elmer's counter without getting drawn into the topic of the day — Elmer sees to that. He firmly believes that breakfast is not a spectator sport — he insists we all participate. By the way, if you do stop by, you might want to take one of the stools at the south end of the counter. That's the left-hand side. Those stools are farther away from the grill, which means you've got more time to duck when Elmer starts throwing food around.
Jimmy Fingerbutton lives in town, but I've never seen him down at Elmer's. Matter of fact, I'm not even sure he eats. Maybe he invented some kind of gizmo that keeps him from getting hungry. I hope he doesn't ask me to test that one. Jimmy's inventions are always ingenious, but sometimes even the most groundbreaking gadgets just don't work out the way they looked on paper.
Come to think on it, I've never seen my friend Stretch in Elmer's Cafe, either. That's just as well. After all, we regulars might occasionally cut loose with an ill-considered theory or poorly-researched factual statement, but we can't abide liars. They give the place a bad name.
Say, would you like to hear a story? I've got this soundcast,2 it's called Tall Tales & Shaggy Dogs, but really it's a little bit of everything. We post a new story every Wednesday, and all you have to do to subscribe is to point your favorite soundcast player to this URL. Of course, you can just go to that page and listen to any tale that strikes your fancy, but I hope you'll subscribe, and share it with all your friends. Tell them it's the greatest thing since hot potatoes.
1 In Abner's world, "Town Side" is roughly everything that falls within the city limits, and "Wild Side" is everything that doesn't. But there are exceptions: you can find little bits of the Wild in any unmanicured section of town, and you can find little pockets of civilization in the middle of the wilderness.
2 The word "podcast" is obsolete. Our friends over at Succotash have suggested using "soundcast" instead, and we're happy to oblige.