It’s late. I’m propped up in bed on two deflated pillows, phone balanced between my hand and sternum, bluish ghost light in my face. On my screen, a cheerful man with a black mustache is saying “Hi guys! Today I’ll be teaching you how to make a New York style strawberry cheesecake.” He drones on for a minute. I close my eyes. There’s a feeling of release, like my ears popping on an airplane, and I’m in his house. I learned how to do this about a month ago. Any house on any video. I’m not sure of the specifics, but somehow, something seems to unlatch, and I enter. The world is full of doors.
His kitchen is very modern, all stark white surfaces and glass and steel. Sterile. Expensive. The baker with the mustache makes good money from his videos. He is moderately famous. Companies pay him to use their products. He’s fast asleep in his bedroom right now. I can hear him snoring, faintly, over the dull buzz of the refrigerator. The air smells sweet from the things he makes here. I pull the refrigerator open. There’s a sucking sound when the rubber seal peels away from the metal, like a kiss. Inside, on a wire shelf, is the cheesecake. I find one of his knives.
The thought crosses my mind of how it might look if he found me here, a stranger in his home at three in the morning with a big shiny blade in my hand. It’s then that I realize I could kill him if I wanted to. I could creep into his room and push this knife through the bedsheets and never be suspected. I live more than a thousand miles away. My alibi would be airtight. Maybe one day that’s what I’ll do, just to see. I’ve always liked the way it feels to get away with something. For now, though, all I want is the cake. I cut myself a slice, lift it onto a little plate with the flat of the knife. With a rush of air, I am back in my own bedroom. It’s sweet, and cold, and the strawberries are still fresh.
Max Firehammer is a writer living in Saint Paul. In his spare time, he tends to his aquarium and plays the drums.