I have a daydream about writing a children’s book with my friend Laurel. I don’t know if it’ll ever happen, but it’s fun to think about.

When I’m trying to come up with ideas, I run them by John. We don’t write stories, but we have very detailed conversations. Recently I told him that a king on an island was preparing to take a trip. Here’s what came out of that:

There’s a species called the Flints. They’re all men, about two feet tall, with very long beards all the way to the ground. They come in all the colors that people come in and they’re all very pudgy. They don’t wear leaves, but they do wear clothes made from leaves.

Flints don’t ever die of natural causes, but they can be killed by accident so they have to be careful with their bodies.

Flints are very rare. Currently there are only 24 of them in the world. Twelve are good guys, and twelve are bad guys. If you kill a good one, a bad one dies, too. And vice versa. So they rarely fight, because what would be the point?

Good Flints can grant wishes, but only if they’re good wishes and make the world better than it is now. Bad Flints, as you can imagine, interfere with this process.

The leader of the Flints is called King. That’s his name, not his job. He’s the one who settles disputes, if there are any.

Flints are born from eggs, which are laid by King. (We recognize that that is unorthodox.) King lays an egg any time a Flint dies.

If an egg is kept warm before it hatches, it will hatch as a good Flint. If it’s kept cool before it hatches, it’ll be a bad Flint. Flints are always trying to steal eggs to keep them warm or cool. It’s hard on King.

When Flints are hatched, they’re two inches tall and have stubble. They’ll grow to full height (and beards) in about seven years.

They’re born knowing simple words like “yes” and “no,” “hot” and “cold.” But it takes them a while to learn more complicated words like “marvelous” and “concoction.”

Flints live in all sorts of different climates. In all the places on earth. But they hold very still, so you probably haven’t seen one. Or maybe you have seen one, but you didn’t realize it.

They live alone and rarely meet each other. Although they do like to pay visits from time to time using magic boats. And there you have it: a King on an island, preparing to take a trip.

There’s a separate but related species of female creatures, who can fly and live up in trees. But that’s another story.

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