Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Snake Pit Update: Rescuing Chinstrap

For those just joining us…

Little 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.

The home was also the scene of the tragic suicide of his late partner Desmond, who hung himself in the garage.

In the 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.

Blooper 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." 

The 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. 

Once 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. 

Back to 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.

A family 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. 

The couple 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. 

While 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.

Latest Developments

Recently several 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.

I’ve felt 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 time.

At another 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.

“The 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.”

The 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.”

When 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.

According 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.

Blooper’s 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.”

A source 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.

Gassy’s 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.

Chinstrap’s 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. 


  1. *sips coffee*

    Now I can go on with the day seeing as my life has been given in a dose that only the Emperor could provide.


  2. Holy crap I had no idea just how in-depth this tragedy was. Remember, they attacked me on Facebook a few months ago. When do we start casting for the lifetime movie?