Fifteen-year-old Joey Franks considered himself a communist.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” That’s what Karl Marx wrote. Joey didn’t know that, of course. He hadn’t actually read any Marx. All he knew was that he didn’t want to live like his dad, shackled to his desk in the city for 80 hours a week, a slave to capitalism, while is mother sat around watching Love It or List It between fits on the Peloton machine.

“I don’t know how you think you’re going to eat,” his father scolded him one night at dinner. “Money doesn’t grow on trees, even if you’re a communist.”

“Especially if you’re a communist,” Joey’s mother added, taking a sip of her gin and tonic.

Joey, who had been pushing his half eaten dinner around on his plate, jumped out of his chair. “You don’t understand!” Joey screamed. “Leave me alone!”

He loped upstairs to his room and slammed the door, leaving his parents with absolutely nothing to talk about.

Upstairs, Joey grabbed the Xbox controller. The television flickered to life. He had returned to the Apex lobby when his mom called him down to dinner, and there was a red message icon on the lower right corner of the screen. He clicked it. The subject line said “TIRED OF PARENTS.”

“How did you know?” Joey chuckled.

Just then, his phone started buzzing. It was Luke, Joey’s best friend since second grade. He slid the green answer icon across the screen.

“Yo, Luke, what’s up?”

“Are you seeing this?”

“Seeing what, bro?”

“This message in Apex. It’s bananas!”

“It just came up. Hang on.”

Joey tossed the phone on the bed and started reading.

Everything you think you know is a lie. Your parents are tricking you. Their world is designed to keep you from reaching your true potential. Do you want to know more?

Joey picked up the phone and put it to his ear. “Luke, did you get this same message? It says our parents are lying to us.”

“Yeah, but that isn’t the half of it. Say yes.”

“What do you mean ‘say yes’? Like reply and say I want to learn more?”

“Yeah, do it.”

“Dude, is this you? Are you punking me right now?”

“I’m not, Joe, I swear. You’ve got to see this.”

“Okay,” Joey sighed. “Hang on.” He threw the phone back down on the bed. Then he clicked reply and typed, “Yes, I want to learn more.” He tabbed down to the send button and hesitated. Then he clicked and the message was gone.

Instantly, he got a reply.

Meet us at the railroad bridge at 10:30. Bring friends. We need your help.

Joey stared at the message, then looked at his phone without touching it. He tossed the controller on the floor and ran both hands through his hair. Only then did he pick up the phone again.

“Are you going?” he asked.

“Are you?” Luke replied.

An hour later, Joey’s mom rapped at his door. When she got no answer, she opened it slowly. “Joey, it’s Mom. Can I talk to you?”

Still she got no answer, so Joey’s mom pushed the door wide. Joey was not there. The curtains fluttered in the breeze from the open window.


About Prompt-A-Day: The rules are simple. Every day, I generate a prompt¬†using Story Shack’s awesome writing prompt generator. Then I set a timer for one hour. At the end of the hour, I post what I’ve got. Sometimes it’s decent. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes I fail at the prompt. Sometimes I do okay. I do not edit, unless I find a typo, because I can’t help fixing those. Feel free to join in and post a link to your writing in the comments.