Jonas, On Time
Featured Fiction by Jason Campbell Fall/Winter 2016
Jonas found himself on his usual walk home from his shipping clerk job at Northwest Produce and
Packing, where he’d been since 1937. It was 5:37pm on a rainy and overcast Thursday afternoon. By
the time Jonas walked the remaining 9 blocks and up the 4 flights of stairs to his apartment in the old
rundown Jewish community neighborhood on Scranton’s south side, it would be 6:11pm. In Jonas 63
years, he’d always been a counter; from the windows on the tall brick apartment buildings on his walk
home to taxi cabs and the shipping inventory. Even when he had no place to be, he counted time.
Jonas turned the top step, rolled back his wet trench coat sleeve to see that it was 6:11pm. Mmm
hmm. Letting go of the large wooden handrail, he stopped. He brought the paper thin skin of his
face together into a wrinkled squint. There was a plain brown parcel package leaning against his
apartment door. He walked slowly over to the door, fumbling for his key, as he always did, never
taking his attentive eyes from the package between his old worn out 2-tone brogue dress shoes-just like
Fred Astaire use to wear, back in the good ole days. Jonas snatched up the package, gave a quick
look in both directions down the barren hallway, and slipped into his apartment, with the quickness and
stealth of his youth, slamming the door behind him.
The package was addressed by hand.
505 Jackson Avenue
Scranton, PA 18411 Apt 5J
3211 Roseville Road
Sacramento, CA 94203
The package was light and shoe box size, and when Jonas opened it, the reason was apparent. It
was a brand new pair of 2-tone tan and brown brogues-just like the one’s he was wearing. Just the way
they had looked years ago. He slipped his old ones off. He took a look around the room and drew a
long deep breath. With a slight smirk he let out a slow, heavy, sigh as he slipped into the new pair.
Broad Street, Philadelphia Train Station
Jonas found himself on a hard wooden waiting bench staring down at his shiny 2-tone brogues-just
like Fred Astaire wears . Jonas knew if he got on the train, he would probably never see Philly again,
or Pennsylvania for that matter. You’re 24 years old, life is more than half over. Do it. He’d
recently been offered a steady job at a shipping company in Scranton, but what would there be in
California? A familiar feeling rolled over him and settled into his belly with a tickle. The train’s
passenger car started to close. Jonas hand went up. The conductor waved him in, with a quick once
over and a slight frown. “Last call, Philadelphia to Sacramento, all abooooard!”
Jonas took a look around the station and with a slight smirk, took a long deep breath, stepped
Jason Campbell is a freelance writer that attended Indiana University.
He lives and works in Bloomington, Indiana and submits short fiction to magazines throughout the U.S.