A Speck of Light

by John Wentworth Chapin

As the closing credits roll for Spinal Tap, I click off the VCR and TV. Bobby is stoned past the point of giggling. He grunts and says, “That's true, you know, what they said about the drummer and spontaneous combustion.”

I'm still staring at that little spot in the center of the television, waiting for it to wick out. It's an old one, rabbit ears and all. I need new friends or something.

“My grandfather knew a guy who died of spontaneous combustion,” Bobby says. “Wait, no, my grandfather died of it. The whole inside of his truck got crisped.”

No, he probably didn't, I think. I wish we were at Bobby's so I could take off, but instead I just stare at my TV. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him digging around in the ashtray.

“Is your wife coming back?” he asks.

This startles me; I wonder what he knows about Heather. I turn to look at him. He's offering me a tiny wedge of juice-soaked paper wisping thin smoke from the dim ember. He doesn't know anything about anything.

I turn to look back at the TV, but the light has winked out. I take the roach from Bobby gingerly and hold it to my lips. I want to tell him she spontaneously combusted, but I don't. I kill the joint instead.