The other day, I made the mistake of watching Shane Dawson’s newest conspiracy theory video. He talked about how there were a growing amount of apartment buildings and Airbnbs with hidden cameras — and how easy it was to disguise them. He showed cameras installed in tissue boxes. Smoke detectors. Clocks. Pens. Water bottles. Picture frames. Outlets. Screws. Phone chargers. They were nearly impossible to detect, even when you were actively looking for them. It scared the crap out of me.
The problem is, I rent my apartment. My landlord has keys to my place in case I lock myself out or there’s an emergency where he needs to barge inside. I never really worried about it before, even though the apartments on either side of me were empty, undergoing renovations, leaving me pretty much isolated. My landlord might have been a weirdo, but I felt confident he would never sneak inside while I was in my bathrobe.
But what if he snuck inside when I wasn’t home? What if he installed some of those baby cameras and watched me in my bathrobe from his room on the other side of the complex?
The thought freaked me out. I tossed on a sweatshirt to cover myself and slipped into big, fuzzy socks in case he had some kind of foot fetish. Then I swept the room with a blacklight, on the hunt for miniature cameras smaller than a thumbnail.
The fact that I found nothing should’ve calmed me down, but the longer I looked, the more memories came flooding back to me. The time he asked me whether I enjoyed The Circle finale, even though I’d never mentioned being a fan. Or when he volunteered to come in and fix my sink before I even told him it was broken. There were a million little moments where he knew too much. Moments I overlooked, brushed right off.
He couldn’t have known any of that information unless he was watching me. He had to be watching me. I was sure of it.
I continued searching for cameras, tearing the place apart in the process. I ripped my shower curtain to shreds. Disconnected my smoke detectors. Smashed a clock open. Disassembled outlets, almost electrocuting myself.
I was about to crack apart my television when my almost boyfriend texted me. He got off from work early. He wanted to see me.
I looked around the room, seeing the place with his eyes. He would think I was crazy if he stopped over. Maybe I was crazy. Maybe my landlord was a friendly old man who heard me playing The Circle a little too loud and found something wrong with the pipes leading to my sink.
There was no way I would have time to clean up the mess I’d made in my apartment, so me and my almost made plans to meet at a restaurant.
I was about to leave for our date, dressed in a tight blue dress, when I noticed something on my bedroom wall. I thought it was chipped paint or a leftover screw, but the dark splotch was something else.
Not a camera. A hole.
It turned out I was wrong about him watching me on secret cameras. He was watching me from inside the next apartment.