RENT MONEY • by J.D. Strunk

Lila heard a sigh on the other end of the line. “How did it happen?” her mother asked.

“The usual way,” said Lila.

Lila. You know what I mean. Do you two not use protection?”

“Mom. It happened.”

“And you’re going to…”

“I’m twenty-two, Mom. It’s too young.”

There was a long silence.

“Please don’t tell Dad,” said Lila.

There was a slight hesitation before her mother said, “Okay.” The hesitation made Lila nervous.


Okay,” repeated her mother.


Later that week, Lila got a letter in the mail. It was from her father. Inside was a check.

Affixed to the check was a Post-It note. Lila smiled at her father’s barely legible handwriting.

 “For rent,” her father had scribbled. “Much love.”

 Strange, thought Lila. Her father had never given her rent money before.

  He never would again.

J.D. Strunk was born in Boston, Massachusetts, grew up in northern Ohio, and has a degree in English Literature from the University of Toledo. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Louisville Review, The Coachella Review, Palooka Magazine, MoonPark Review, The Bookends Review, Allium Journal, Jimson Weed, New Plains Review, and elsewhere. In 2022 he was a finalist for The Bellingham Review Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction. He lives in Denver, Colorado. IG: @jdstrunkwriter

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