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 missed a couple, but if I did, 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, you probably haven't seen hanging around down at Elmer's Cafe, on account of he almost never comes Town Side. He's what you call a field researcher. I don't know why. I mean, assuming a field has been found once, why would anybody need to search for it again?
Anyway, Vern'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. Why, I remember the time he saved me from a five-legged catawampus ... but that's another story.
When I'm in town, I like to drop in at Elmer's Cafe for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. Not too many people know about Elmer's Cafe — it's a little hard to find, and it's not very big. There are no booths or tables — it's just a counter and nine stools, is all. Sometimes we get a tourist or two come wandering in, but they rarely ever come back for a second visit. You see, the thing is, there are no private conversations at Elmer's Cafe. There are no quiet corners to hide in. Breakfast at Elmer's is not a spectator sport — you've got to participate. By the way, you might want to take one of the left-hand stools, if you can. The stools down at that end are a little further away from the grill, and so when Elmer starts throwing food around, you have a little more time to duck.
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 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.