In mathematics, there exists an imaginary number, created by mathematicians to express the square root of negative one. They call it i. Mathematicians use it to balance an equation and make the result real and rational. In my world, Heelstring acts as i: it is an imaginary place, making this fictionalized Texas real and rational — or at least as real and rational as can be expected of Texas. In the infinite potential of the multiverse, this is a Texas similar to the one that exists in myth and reality. A Texas where the names have been changed to protect not so much the innocent as much as to protect me. Reality, myth and mystique, to Texans, overlap with indistinct, indistinguishable boundaries. Heelstring takes a few liberties with these boundaries that some might find heretical. Texans are mighty touchy about state pride, well-armed and adept marksmen. Therefore, the first name I’m changing is my own. If anybody asks, call me Ishmael. Or Larry. Use your imagination.