"Dorothy! Who's Dorothy?" the alarmed citizens
of Emerald City cried when seeing the witch's ominous message in the sky. I was
reminded of that scene this week after watching the disturbing video of
the notorious Dustin
Mitchell lying in a Downtown St. Louis intersection, battered and bloodied,
demanding bystanders contact Ryan or possibly Brian Murphy.
The following morning Mitchell posted he was mugged, but, perhaps because the
video showing him antagonizing the driver who assaulted him went
viral, replaced the post with an unusually introspective update: "Whoever
decided to serve alcohol in pitchers is responsible for most of my life's
Many St. Louisans who've long
followed Mitchell's antics suspect this whole thing was staged. As
someone who's studied and written
the book on our city's colorful characters, I feel certain that's not
A staged scene would involve a sober, innocent, and well-dressed Mitchell
rescuing someone from an attack, and he'd be attempting to sell the story the
way he did when claiming he defended a Trans woman from a knife-wielding
cab driver. He certainly wouldn't go to all this trouble to create the unflattering scene in that cringeworthy video.
According to my source, who first brought the video to my attention, Mitchell
was at a Washington Avenue bar doing shots of Jameson when he "got sassy
and argumentative" with a group of patrons including a regular named Miguel,
and was asked to leave. He then went to nearby Rosalitas, where I had my fateful
dinner with him back in April. When the bars closed he was seen in the street
surrounded by bystanders.
I've asked Mitchell about Ryan or Brian Murphy, and will update this blog if he
responds. Meanwhile, some have been inspired to create memes based on Mitchell's standoff with the truck, including this one from Anthony Leon Reed Jr:
And this one from the "Maestro of Memes" Josh Jordan:
**UPDATE: RESPONSE FROM MITCHELL**
"I was very drunk. No idea where I even was. I most likely deserved it. Everyone needs to find a new topic to discuss."
On the million dollar question about who Ryan or Brian Murphy is, Mitchell replied, "It's nobody's business."
The hothead known as Gassy is best known for his well-publicized arrest after being caught performing oral sex on a small town sheriff, and for his volatile temper. He's banned from most St. Louis LGBT bars for assaulting patrons. (He even verbally assaults the sheriff, who by all accounts is a very nice guy, when he sees him at JJ's - which is one bar he's not banned from).
People asked me to write about him for some time, but I didn't until he declared war on me early this year, allowing himself to be used as Blooper's pawn. On behalf of Blooper he vowed to take me down, along with anyone who comments on my posts, "one. by. one." and began a campaign of harassment and intimidation against a writer after Blooper revealed the pseudonym used in his popular magazine column.
The peculiar thing about Gassy is that he wants to be both feared and pitied, bizarrely oscillating between gleefully vowing to destroy his enemies and then attempting to gain sympathy with talk of being bullied by said enemies.
While perusing social media Gassy learned that his own relatives had read my book, Delusions of Grandeur, which he considered a betrayal, and unfriended them as a result.
Before the release he claimed he was in 44 pages of the book. He's not mentioned or even alluded to in the critically acclaimed work.
more than a year ago a character I’ll call “Blooper” was a local magazine
photographer and chef. He appeared to have a lot going for him. He’d travel to other cities
for photo shoots, announce plans to buy the restaurant where he worked, and often
boasted about his large suburban home, which he owned with his partner who I
call “Chinstrap” due to his trademark beard.
was also the scene of the tragic suicide of his late partner Desmond, who hung
himself in the garage.
past year he lost everything, beginning with the magazine gig. He then went after
a former associate by revealing his pseudonym, only known by a handful of
people in town, and recruited an unstable hothead known as “Gassy” to terrorize the
writer and his family, which he did by sending letters to his employer and messaging
him irate threats while the man was on vacation with his child.
was fired from his restaurant job for showing up drunk and causing a scene, and
as he left he vowed to ensure the business failed. He took to Facebook to
disparage the business and the owner, and went on to quit a few other jobs in
similar fashion. His motto seemed to be "leave no bridge unburned."
sprawling home he boasted about owning turned out to be his disabled mother’s
residence, and he had to vacate when a judge granted her an emergency protective
order after he physically attacked and smothered her in a fit of rage. She came
forward with tales of him abusing her, Chinstrap, and the couple’s two dogs. Chinstrap confirmed her story, telling me Blooper once doused him with liquor and tried to set him on fire.
they were gone she discovered they’d stolen her identity and ran up a
substantial debt with rims, concert tickets, trips to Chicago, a large
television, and bar tabs. Chinstrap has a rap sheet for identity theft. "I'm sixty years old and I'll never be able to buy anything in my name again" his mother said.
Last year the
community was shocked to hear that Blooper's ex, Desmond, was in fact alive, contrary
to what Blooper had claimed. While he did hang himself, and police
did arrive to find a dead body, paramedics miraculously revived him. Upon
waking from his coma, his family whisked him away to Northern California to
start a new life. For years Blooper claimed he was dead, and he forbid anyone
who knew otherwise from mentioning him.
his mother and the living situation. Blooper managed to convince many that his
mother’s multiple sclerosis had caused her to lose her faculties, and he
garnered a good deal of sympathy for being put out on the street as a result.
agreed to take in Blooper and Chinstrap, but kicked Blooper out almost
immediately, after he slapped their pre-teen child. Blooper then flailed from
couch to couch, and turned over his emaciated dogs to a local rescue agency
where he proceeded to make a scene in the lobby over unpaid fees.
took on a third partner, a young guy I’ll call Rivers, which often left Chinstrap feeling
like the odd man out. He’d leave the triad once or twice a week and take to
Facebook with his heartbreak, then get back with them and delete the statuses. Rivers eventually got out, but not without paying a heavy price.
Gassy was the most aggressive defender of the group I refer to as “The Snake
Pit,” many others expressed outrage at my coverage of their antics, despite the
public way they live their lives – where every fight was online or in front of witnesses
at bars or parties.
defenders, former foes of mine, have come forward and requested that I get the truth out about what’s
really going on. These people feel Chinstrap is being blackmailed into staying
in a horrific, physically and emotionally abusive situation.
a sea change for a while, the sense that their friends were abandoning Blooper
in droves while coalescing around Chinstrap. I first heard about tension when the group was at a Belleville pool party. A day or two earlier, during one of their
weekly breakups, Blooper sent friends a video of him crying in pain while supposedly
cutting himself. He threatened suicide unless Chinstrap talked to him. Friends
were in crisis mode, begging Chinstrap to take action and even attempting to
call Blooper’s estranged mother. At the party a friend approached Blooper,
grabbed his uncut arms, and went off on him. Blooper walked away and avoided
her for the rest of the event, disappearing to do drugs upstairs much of the
party at the same house Blooper physically assaulted Chinstrap in front of
everybody, and then called the police on Chinstrap when he left – a move which
alarmed the hosts, who didn’t want to invite police attention.
actual adults in our group that know everything...yes. They side with
[Chinstrap]. [Blooper] has a lot of people convinced that [Chinstrap] is the
problem maker though. These are all the young boys he hangs with and of course,
his paralegal roommate that keeps threatening [Chinstrap] with legal shit.”
friends spoke of Blooper threatening to get Chinstrap sent back to jail if he
doesn’t jump when he says jump, saying he “has plans in motion in the event
[Chinstrap] steps out of line” and all he has to do is contact his probation
officer. “Blooper's thing now is to say ‘There is no fifty-fifty! It’s completely
my way or nothing. He either agrees to be my bitch, give me a ride whenever I
say, do whatever I tell him, or I’m going to kick his teeth in and he’s going
to kick rocks!’ the friend recalled. “[Blooper] is a monster.”
Chinstrap couldn’t get away from work to take Blooper to lunch, Blooper went on
a public tirade over social media, and then called Chinstrap’s employer
repeatedly with details of his criminal past.
to the Pro-Chinstrappers, it was Blooper who stole his mother’s identity, and
they say he’s admitted to framing Chinstrap for it. I, however, think they were
in on it all together, and certainly enjoyed the spoils together.
stature has fallen like a rock in the Grove, but he still has a following in
the east side strip clubs, where apparently he drinks for free. “Everybody is afraid
to stand up to [Blooper] in that group. The stripper boys and such, it’s really
quite sad” a former friend says. “He hangs with people that enable him to do
drugs on their dime and get him drunk, again, on their dime…He hits on them,
makes them feel special and they do whatever he wants. Then he acts a fool and
they all think it’s funny. [Blooper’s] sheep is what I call them.”
close to Gassy said he now realizes how he was manipulated and used by Blooper,
and the two no longer speak – although they were never close to begin with.
Blooper has long made fun of him.
partner moved to Memphis and Gassy tagged along, where he sits around and
drinks all day, bitterly plotting his revenge on me. I told his friend I’d be
willing to drop the dispute if he’d apologize to the writer he terrorized for
no reason, but that offer only enraged him further.
friends are using me as the jaws of life to help pull him from the wreckage of
his relationship with Blooper. For the past year I’ve argued that they were two
heads on the same beast, and such side taking was akin to arguing about which
pile of shit smells worse. Now, though, I agree with them – to an extent. While
neither smells like roses, there’s no bigger pile of shit than Blooper. Correction: An earlier draft said Blooper's mother had muscular dystrophy when she actually has multiple sclerosis.