I was sitting across from a beautiful girl at a table outside a bar near my home when I heard shrill, angry screams coming from the sidewalk on the other side of the street.
“Nah bitch! Naw! Where you think you goin!?!”
“Fuck you, you fuckin’ bitch! FUCK YOU!”
That interaction is what interrupted a lovely spring evening I was having a few years ago. Four supremely pissed off black girls, across the street from where I was enjoying a beer on the sidewalk outside a bar in the Delmar Loop in University City, a suburb of St. Louis, were following a fifth into the middle of the street with what one could, at that point, reasonably surmise were unkind intentions. It was their multiple declarations of, “Imma fuck you up” and all the threatening swings of their purses that really tipped them off. If any of them had taken their heels off to brandish as a weapon, I would have been witnessing the prelude to the kind of flesh wounds you only see at strip clubs and Payless Shoe Store Black Friday riots.
The fifth girl, an apparent offending party, the villain of a Maury show that never aired, finally became frustrated and made the mistake of turning around to confront her four pursuers. This was a big mistake. It’s said that in Asia people in rural areas wear human masks on the back of their heads to trick stalking tigers. The predators become timid at the sight of a person’s face and keep their distance. These predators, however, at least one of which was wearing tiger print, incidentally, were the exact opposite. As soon as the girl they were following turned toward them, the four pursuers ferociously pounced, as if seeing the girl’s face instantaneously and vehemently reminded them of every single reason they were pissed off at her, reminded them of everything they hated about her, reminded them of everything they hated about anything, whether it was whatever this presumably “triflin’ bitch” had done, or Jar Jar Binks, or the DMV. In that moment it was all getting settled on the goddamn pavement. Right there in the street.
The four attackers swarmed the attacked, who got in a decent swing before a girl to her right landed a massive blow across her jaw. It was a sucker punch, and the kind of impact where the sound of it resonates within you. As the attacked’s balance faltered from what I can only assume was a Grade II concussion, the girl in front of her grabbed her hair and yanked that weave like it was the ripcord to a blow up raft on a rapidly sinking ship.
The attacked went down hard, face first into the pavement, while the girl standing above her clutched a faux-scalp. There was no time to admire the trophy, however. The scalper and her three comrades began viciously stomping on the girl lying in the middle of the street beneath them.
“Fuck you bitch! Fuck you!” they all shouted down towards the girl to some variance.
A mob of several dozen that had followed the girls for at least a block, a group of people who clearly knew some if not all of the girls involved, laughed, ohhh’d, and egged the impromptu facial reorganizing on. Traffic going both ways had stopped completely. Stunned onlookers watched from cars and restaurants and sidewalks. I, meanwhile, turned to my brand new, sweet, preppy, extremely suburban, young sorority girl girlfriend sitting across from me, whose mouth was agape in horror, whom I had brought to this particular spot specifically to show off my hometown, and I shrugged and said with a chuckle, “So, uh, yeah. I’ve been coming down here since I was 11.” She did not chuckle back. I guess irony is a little hard to appreciate when a girl’s skull is being dented between a stiletto hammer and an asphalt anvil. Well, not for me, but for some people anyway.
From the day I was born until the day I left for college, I lived in U. City. I love my hometown within my hometown. I also loved the girl I was with at the time. We were really into each other. In retrospect it was kind of gross, but also really great. I had just graduated from Mizzou, while she had just finished her sophomore year. Being that she was a Kansas City girl, I invited her to St. Louis to hang out, meet some non-Mizzou friends, and show off my hometown. We were roughly a few hours into that grand tour that when this all went down.
From there I wasn’t exactly sure what to do. Help the girl getting kind of murdered in front of me? No. No, fuck that. I have no problem jumping in to break up a bar fight between two bros who don’t want to throw down so much as loudly announce to the bar what their penis sizes are (huge) even though that counterproductively reveals the truth (very small). Fights like the one I was witnessing, however, are another story entirely. Those girls were out for blood. They didn’t give a fuck about anything but fucking that other girl up. Case in point, they were in the middle of the street, heavy traffic be damned.
“You can get to your dinner reservation after we send this bitch to hell!”
They were out of their minds. At random points they would simply stop kicking, drag the girl on the ground by her leg, like, a foot away, and then start kicking again. Why? WHY? You jump in to break that up and you’ll be on the ground too, getting skull fucked by a Korean pedicure.
I tried to explain to my girlfriend, in the politest way possible, that sometimes there are some less than desirable elements that roam the Loop, but for the most part it was a great place. Unsurprisingly, she wasn’t buying my explanation, or maybe she just couldn’t hear it over the screams, I don’t know. Either way, that explanation was irrelevant mere moments later, when the five girl beat down erupted into an all out forty person brawl.
Someone, some fool, tried to break up the fight. It was some kid in the big group that had followed the girls to watch the fight. As soon as he tried to intervene, one of the girls took a swing. He backed up, cursed her out, and went in again. The girl swung again. That was apparently enough to piss off another girl in the crowd, who came running towards her and landed a punch. Then, I don’t even know. Chaos. Everyone turned on everyone. I’m not sure there were even sides. Dudes were punching each other and throwing people into cars, both parked and running. More girls were yanking weave and swinging purses. This was a godsend to the girl on the ground though, who was now able to drag her mangled body and face toward the sidewalk.
Bouncers from the bar we were at, the now extinct Riddle’s, formed a Spartan-like wall between the parked cars separating us from the brawl, doing their best to prevent it from spilling into the sidewalk/patio area. The street in front of us was anarchy. My girlfriend was now terrified for her safety, and justifiably so. I had no idea how far this would escalate. Twenty feet to our right, the girl who had been on the ground stumbled up to the sidewalk, bleeding from everywhere. At one point I looked out to my left and saw a guy take a full swing at a girl. The girl, like a pro, dodged the punch, kicked him in the leg, and ran off. I wasn’t sure whether to be impressed or horrified. It doesn’t matter, I was both.
It’s worth asking where the police were during all this. The University City police station is roughly thirty seconds from the site of the brawl. The only answer I have is I don’t know. A solid fifteen minutes elapsed before any cops showed up. Maybe they were stuck in the traffic jam created by the original stomping? When the cops finally did arrive, it was in force. Clubs out, pepper spray and tasers armed, no fucks given about who did what. I was hoping that the reestablishment of law would make my girlfriend feel a little better, but watching police officers, fully grown men, slam high school girls and guys on the hoods of cars as others screamed and clawed at their eyes after being pepper sprayed wasn’t really a consolation. I just couldn’t win. The date was ruined…by an all girl street fight turned full on riot. Next time, she picked the place.