We recently published Dan Crawley’s dreamy “Bull.”

Here, we ask him two questions about his story:

1) I love the feeling of “neighborhood” in this piece, the good-natured teasing, the conversations, the wishes of sweet dreams. Do you think some of these characters might still call out their windows to each other “good night”?

What a wonderful thought. I would hope so. I know there are a few showing this kind of goodwill toward their neighbors in the present day, even with the advent of swamp coolers keeping them inside. But I don’t think many in this little town long for the days of sleeping outdoors, within calling distance of their friends and neighbors. I think this is a shame if they don’t carry on this concern for each other. These characters can do better, right? This is what I am going for in this tiny story: what is so wrong with looking out for your neighbors?

2) That line — “oblivious to what wanders the pitch black beyond” — gives us almost a sense of horror. And there’s not too many things scarier than a loose bull! What do you think might be wandering the pitch black while everyone sleeps inside?

I am so glad you bring this up! When I thought about the bull being a symbol for this sense of horror in the micro, then the story had its purpose and the drive to write it overwhelmed me for weeks. I played out a few scenarios and knew that line could elicit bad things coming, like death, or hard times, but I wanted to deal with what is going on in our global neighborhood for years now, too. I think about those who are isolated in their grief and sickness and despair because of the menace lurking out there, still. And everyone calling out to each other, “Here he comes” is how it should be, always.