08 Jul The Real Reason Why Dr. Disrespect Was Banned From Twitch
“The Real Reason Why Dr. Disrespect Was Banned From Twitch”Written by Irving Crane Edited by Craig Groshek Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek Narrated by Ryan Taylor
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⏰ ESTIMATED READING TIME — 16 minutes
Is Doctor Disrespect one of your heroes? I know he was one of mine. Yes, was. I guess I still respect the guy. But he went down one motherfucker of a rabbit hole and dragged me down with him.
I’m seventeen and I wash windows.
That’s why I couldn’t quite bring myself to look at the old Winslow house when I drove by it. Damn, did it have windows. I always thought it would be a motherfucker to wash them all. I found out firsthand when the place was bought by none other than Dr. Disrespect himself.
He’s one of those guys you either love or you hate. If he’s on camera, he’s in character. The first few times you watch him, you’re, like, motherfucker, are you for real? But then you get it that he’s an actor. One of the best.
So yeah, it was the Doc that bought the old Winslow house. I don’t know if he did it because he liked that shit or if it was part of the act. Everything about the Doc is just, fuckin’ over the top. And when you’re raking in the money that you get from having over four million subscribers on Twitch, you’ve got nothing holding you back from buying a mansion.
Now I didn’t know the Doc was the new owner until I got the phone call that one late morning. I reached over and picked up my phone before it could dance off the bedside table, and sure ‘nuff, there’s the voice I knew too well, “Hey-ey, I hear there’s a guy at this number that does windows.”
I was getting excited hearing his voice but I wasn’t, like, present enough to know why.
“Yeah man, that’s me. Gary Rollins, Roll-Up Window Washing, at your service.”
“Gary, I got some windows for you to roll up on. Are you taking work now?”
And then he threw me a dollar amount that was so ridiculous, it made my back straighten and I fully woke up.
“Say what now?”
“You heard me right.”
“Where are you located?”
“I just bought this huge house outside of Maryland Heights.”
“The Winslow house?”
“You got it, brother.”
“Shoot, I wondered who would get in there next.”
“It’s a killer place for the price and I like my space. I stream games on Twitch and this will let me broadcast from a different room each time I play. I’ll never get bored.”
My throat tightened. It couldn’t be.
“I’m always watching Twitch. Who is this?”
And he told me. He asked me to come down that afternoon to talk. Mama raised me to drive careful like an old man but I’m pretty sure I blew a stop sign or two on my way. Part of me couldn’t believe that was really The Doc on the other end of the phone call. But it was. I parked my beat-up Volvo a few feet away from a cherry red sports car that looked like it belonged on a poster for a 1980s racing game. I think that’s the point when I started to believe. Doctor Disrespect had moved to my neighborhood. I was gonna get to wash his windows and he was gonna pay me mad bank to do it.
He appeared at the wrought-iron gate. He wasn’t exactly ready for a streaming session. He looked like any random Joe with a ballcap. But that mustache, man. It was definitely him all the way.
Now the person he plays on camera is kind of a jerk. And I tend to think that most famous people are jerks anyway. The Doc was actually really nice. Like, genuine. He gave me a handshake first thing and I know my hands were clammy and trembling like my voice.
I always thought the Winslow house was big. Sizing it up like I was gonna wash the windows made it seem bigger. But with what the Doc was looking to pay me? Shoot, I’d have a slick company vehicle in just a few months.
He showed me where every last piece of outside-facing glass was and we did the thing with a contract. The whole time I was thinking of things to say or ask him. But all my dry mouth could spit out was,
“So why here?”
He gestured in a big circle with one arm.
“Why not? I’ll never get bored with this many rooms to stream from. There’s three bedrooms on each floor and like four floors.”
“I’ve been watching everything you put out. This seems a little out of the way since you were right in the middle of LA’s gaming world where you lived last time.”
I felt creepy as soon as I got done talking. But he laughed, nodding.
“I’m a real gamer. I get bored easily. Plus I have a little traveling route I need to stay on.”
“It’s part of a bucket list of mine. So I’ll see you first thing tomorrow, right?”
And just like that, I was working for The Doc. It was a real trip, you know? I’ve got a fear of heights that won’t let me get too awful far off the ground. That’s why most places I wash look like McDonald’s. But knowing I was doing The Doc’s windows, shoot. I was getting my fat ass up on those skinny attic windows way at the top while the whole house groaned at me.
A few times I swore that house was trying to kill me, like it was a dog and I was a flea it was scratching at. The window I’d be washing would rattle hard for no good reason. Then stop. And then WHAM… it was like it was slapped by someone on the other side. And there’d be nobody there. That shit right there made me piss myself more than once. Just a little. I started to think that maybe the house wanted me dead.
One afternoon I was running behind on getting around to the Winslow windows. I stepped through the gate and closed it behind me and something bumped into my thigh. A patchy black and white billy goat was dragging its lips over my shirt, testing it for flavor I guess. It looked at me with those weird hourglass eyes like I was supposed to feed it. The goat was on a short red leash.
I didn’t think much of it. When you got this much money to burn you’re going to pick up some interesting pets. I walked up to the big ol’ antique front door and gave it some knuckle.
The shout that answered me was a burst, like a shriek that was suddenly cut off. I almost knocked again when I heard the voice again, and this time I could understand it.
So I did. I probably handled the door kinda rough. The voice that told me to come was, you know, urgent. And I came in with urgency alright, accidentally slamming the door behind me.
“In here! The dining room!”
I didn’t know where the dining room was. I did my best to follow the voice. Hard to do in a house that big. I must have found the right room because there the Doc was seated at the head of a long table that looked like it was meant for kings and queens. Instead of a big fat ruler chowin’ on a turkey leg, there was The Doc streaming away. He gestured crazy for me to come over. He didn’t look up.
“Hey, get over here and be me for a second. Now! It’ll be just like last time!”
Last time? What last time? He didn’t wait for me to answer him. He tore off that expensive headset and let it clatter on the table along with his wig. And he raced out.
As confused as I was, I came over to the Doc’s set-up and sat down and tried my best to pick up where he left off. I pulled on the headset and jumped into the middle of a match in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. I had quit playing a while back just because the latest Call of Duty stole my attention. The first thing I noticed was that the Doc’s keymapping wasn’t what I was used to. Trying to reload got me throwing a grenade. Shit like that.
The second thing I noticed was that the people the Doc was playing against were grade-fucking-A brutal. Their speed, accuracy and reaction time were superhuman.
The third thing I noticed… and it didn’t make a damn bit of sense… I was keeping up with them just fine. Look, I’m that guy that never plays with more than a handful of people online and I never do it to win since I never win. I just do it for fun. But in that moment it was like I was… I don’t know… seeing things happen one or two seconds ahead. And my reflexes. I was reacting faster than I could understand what I was doing. Scope up, popping bullets in heads and bodies with, like the Doc always said, violence, speed and momentum. It felt good.
Then it felt wrong.
I don’t know why.
I didn’t get to figure it out because I felt something burn the back of my hand. I danced to my feet and cussed just as good as any gamer. The doc was back and he was looking at me with eyes so wide I could see the whites peeking over his sunglasses.
“Oh, dude! My bad, man, my bad! I didn’t mean to get you with my coffee like that! That’s what I get for being in a hurry!”
I checked out my hand. This fucker must drink his coffee hotter than lava, because that burn was pretty damn bad. The skin swelled at the edges like the lip of a crater. He was back at the helm of his game real quick, before I could tell him I was okay or not.
“Thanks for spotting for me. Looks like you did a good job, too. I thought you were my partner. I don’t know where he got off to. I swear I’ll make it up to you.”
“No problem,” I said.
“Hey, why don’t you take care of your hand and go home for the day? I’ll pay you anyway.”
Just as soon as I was getting mad at my hero, I wasn’t anymore. Damn. I wasn’t gonna argue with free money. I told myself we’d call it the Doc’s version of workman’s comp and call it even.
I looked over my shoulder before walking out. If I hadn’t been preoccupied with the burn and the day off with pay, I would have had some questions about why the Doc was drinking scald-your-soul-hot coffee from some weird-ass silver goblet. The fucking thing looked like it got lifted from Dracula’s china cabinet.
I probably would have thought harder about where the goat could have gone. The leash was there but the animal wasn’t anymore.
So yeah, a day off with pay sounds like a dream come true for anyone. But for the life of me, I couldn’t enjoy the day. I came home and bee-lined for my room. There must have been a memo put out, because everyone and everything tried to get in my way.
Mom rambled about old boomer shit and held my gaze for a few seconds before I just walked off without a word. It shut her up and she stared like she wanted a fucking explanation.
Dad was all like “Hey, when’s the garage getting organized? Your window business shit is in my way again.”
“Soon,” I said.
“How soon is that?”
“Real fucking soon!” I snapped.
He then raised his voice to match mine, but I had shut my door behind me.
I just didn’t fucking feel right. Normally when you take a deep breath, all the tension goes with it. Not that day, nope. There was a shiver clamped to my ribs, like a sleeping embryo of panic threatening to hatch with explosive force.
I fired up my gaming computer. It suddenly looked small compared to the machine that Dr. Disrespect used. I had to do something to get my mind off what I was feeling.
There was a channel on YouTube devoted to archiving The Doc’s Twitch streams. I decided I wanted to see how I looked on camera for the fifteen or so minutes I took the wheel.
The longer I watched, the longer I wondered if I had found the right video. But the timestamps weren’t lying. A hammer hit a nail in my head when I saw The Doctor suddenly stand up and cuss up a storm. The camera picked up his hand just long enough to show a bright red burn blooming on the back of it.
That should have been me on camera. It was Dr. Disrespect instead. Did he go back and record himself doing and saying everything I did when he left? There was no way.
The shivering inside me got worse and I decided it was time for a soda. Nobody stopped me when I went downstairs and I moved quietly to make sure nobody saw me either. But when I got back to my room and nudged my door to shut it, it snapped out of my hand and slammed. I tore that motherfucker back open expecting to see my little brother playing around.
There was nobody.
I could hear my heartbeat in the quiet. For half a second it sounded like laughter.
I dug my nails into my scalp as I felt the cool sweat forming above my eyebrows. I ruled out heatstroke since I didn’t do any actual work that day. I didn’t have a high-stress life. The tension and the confusion inside me felt like something foreign, like it didn’t belong. Like it had been planted.
Sleep tried to come my way, but something kept brushing it off.
I don’t fully remember picking up my keys or getting in my car. I don’t remember making the drive to the Winslow house. But I did.
I vaguely remember finding the gate unlocked and letting myself inside. I watched the light up at the top floor of the house for what felt like hours, until it went off. Other lights were on in other rooms, but somehow I knew that one was the most important. A bedroom light. That’s where The Doc was finally calling it a night. I lit up the torch on my phone and began looking around the property. I didn’t know what I was searching for. Looking back, I think something was searching for me.
Even at night, I could tell that Dr. Disrespect had gotten a solid landscaping crew on his side. The shrubs had been carved into perfect cones with flower beds growing between them. I nearly shit myself when a pair of eyes emerged from the nodding flowers clustered in the shadows.
It was a girl in a dark nightie. She was probably fifteen, sixteen. Her eyes weren’t right. She didn’t flinch or blink or anything when I jumped. For a minute I wondered if she was blind and deaf. But she spoke.
“Do you want to replace him?”
“Do you want to replace him? Do you want to take his place on The Path?”
She held out her hand. She was holding a flash drive.
“Doesn’t this belong to The Doc?” I asked.
She didn’t answer me. I shot a glance up to the house. The top floor was still dark. I was going to ask her more questions but as soon as I looked back, she was gone.
I didn’t really want to take the flash drive home, but something told me that trying to return it to The Doc that night would be pointless. I promised myself that I’d only give the drive’s contents a glance. That was at about 2:10 AM. I lost consciousness at about 8:30 AM while still seated at my desktop.
The contents of the drive left me with far more questions than answers. I mean, it was pretty obvious what I watched. But it left me wondering about other internet celebrities and the price they might have paid to get where they are. Okay, I know that sounds really vague and all but…
You know what, I’m just going to tell you what I found.
The first video file didn’t have a time stamp. The camera looked into the face of a very serious-looking Doctor without his wig and the beginning of his mustache.
“It has decided that I’m going to refer to it as The Project from now on. This way I can chronicle my journey down The Path without giving anything away. Breaking my secrecy breaks my, uh… contract, so yeah.”
The Doc slumps back in his chair with his index finger propping up his temple. He shakes his head.
“I’m not really doing anything different than the others with this, you know? Like, I learned early on that talent is really a very small part of the equation. Painfully small. There’s all kinds of talent out there left to rot, never seeing the light of day. Geniuses, you know? People that could set the world on fire but they don’t realize what they have or they don’t know how to start.”
He picked one fingernail with another.
“Kinda funny when playing video games is considered a talent.”
He smirked at the camera.
“It’s a common medium. It’s not like music or painting or any of that shit. It’s fucking games. It’s no different than playing fucking horseshoes. Yeah, being really fucking good at horseshoes. You don’t stand out doing that shit. Not unless you’ve got a hell of a marketing team broadcasting your ass in the right place at the right time to millions of people at once. Then it’s law of averages. For every ten thousand people that see you tossing horseshoes like an expert, maybe a hundred will remember you. Maybe fifty will come back for more. Maybe twenty will pay for the DVD of your greatest horseshoe tournament moments. Hey, those are shitty averages, but if you can reach millions of people, you’re making money.”
He smiles big, but his face shrinks back to being serious.
“I’m not doing anything different. I’m not cutting corners. I’m not cheating. I’m using something other than talent. Just like the rest.”
“It’s what you gotta do if you want to make it big.”
The video ended.
The next clip showed a shiny black table almost like glass. I thought it was glass until I could see the light pick out imperfections in the surface. They were like facets of a diamond. The camera turned around to show Doctor Disrespect up close and looking serious as a heart attack. He was wearing something with a hood. The camera turned back to the table and became still. The hoodie that The Doc was wearing was as close to being a robe as it could get. Dr. Disrespect approached the camera until his head disappeared. He held up a knife that looked to be made of the same material as the black table with geometric facets glinting.
“This is the next lunar phase. The Project has demanded that I pour out my own life if I’m to receive my blessing by contract.”
The Doc’s other hand lifts up that same Dracula goblet I had seen when I got that burn. He turns to the black table and lights narrow dark candles that burn with perfectly straight, motionless flames.
The knife hovered above his palm for a moment, hesitating. But the jab came and the tip began carving. I could hear him grunting with the effort. He squeezed his hand into a fist over the goblet which caught several drops of blood. He picked up the goblet and poured the contents onto the back of his other hand. Smoke rose off of his skin where the blood landed. My own burn began to itch and I shifted in my seat. He opened the carved hand to reveal the symbol he had cut into his palm. I couldn’t look at it long because my burn went from itching to searing.
The video ended.
The next one showed The Doctor in his full dress, glasses, wig, headset and all. He had a gentle smile glued to his face.
“I always thought I was the best. Partly because I am. Partly because if you stop telling yourself you’re the best, you get worse.”
He leaned forward.
“This last stream, I was decidedly the best I had ever seen anyone play. Anyone. It’s not my ego, it’s the raw data. I dominated on an entirely new level. There was like, a new subscription a second. It’s gotta be The Project. I’m convinced it’s real. I’m going to keep it up.”
The next video showed The Doc out of character again. He couldn’t quite bring himself to look into the camera. He fidgeted with the black knife from before.
“So, uh… The Project has decided that after this new move with the next lunar cycle, my own blood won’t be enough.”
The following dozen videos were heavily corrupted, save for one file with a few intact seconds of the black knife slicing across the neck of a lamb and the blood pouring into the Dracula goblet. After more static and corrupted footage, there were a few seconds of the lamb’s limp body being examined when it suddenly raised its head and looked straight into the camera lens over its shoulder with teeth bared. Whoever was holding the camera was caught off guard.
It looked like each “lunar cycle” began in a new location and with new terms from “The Project.” There would be the footage of the ritual bloodletting and then there would be the report of the incredibly successful streaming session. This pattern held up across dozens of videos.
I opened a map in Google Maps and started plotting each move he reported and, unsurprisingly, a pattern emerged, namely the same pattern that he had carved into the palm of his hand in the first video. A symbol that resembled a crescent moon superimposed over some sort of… constellation? It was hard to tell. But it was clear that the Doctor’s movements on the map we’re not random.
I finally came to a video that marked the beginning of yet another lunar cycle and the interior was clearly the old Winslow house. Throughout the videos that followed, the Doc’s face became more grim, more worn, more tired, until he was a haggard mockery of the Doctor that I idolized.
His breathing looked awkward and unnatural. He would inhale sharply and hold his breath for a long time, as if each time he forgot how to let it go.
He was looking into the camera, and yet, at the same time, he was gazing a hundred yards away. His shoulders were drooping. Whether from fatigue or defeat, I couldn’t tell. There was certainly defeat in his voice.
“For this lunar cycle,” he stuttered, “The Project has asked for the blood of a virgin child.”
He looked down at something.
“I have to kill a fucking kid.”
He pinched the bridge of his nose and tears began to flow.
And then the very girl that handed me the flash drive appeared. When I say she appeared, I mean just that. She didn’t enter from the side of the camera’s view. She was suddenly there. She flickered into visibility, shaking and hazy, directly behind the Doctor. She was looking down at him with an expression void of any emotion. Something dark ran from her eyes down into the corners of her lips. Something dark also began running down the Doctor’s hand where he was covering his eyes.
The final video was a close-up of a Doctor Disrespect that appeared to have been in tears for hours. His eyes were pure sunken gray misery. He spoke slowly and smacked his lips between complete thoughts.
“So I, um… I, uh… had talked one of the foster homes into doing a little promo for them. Who better than Doctor Disrespect to lift up the name of a local… uhm… orphanage? We were going to shoot it in the afternoon. And, um… I got anxious when they didn’t show on time. The Project doesn’t like it when I’m, uh… behind schedule. They were so late that I had to start streaming and hope that The Project would make up the difference. It did. But because I was in a hurry, I accidentally sanctified my window washer.”
My ruined hand tingled at his words.
“There was enough blood left in the chalice and I christened the right person, ya know. The kid. He spaced out just like that –”
Here The Doctor snapped his fingers.
“– and I got him in front of the black altar no problem. But, uh, yeah… The Project could tell that I wasn’t going to be able to go through with it. So the kid snapped to, saw the altar and the knife and everything, and bolted.”
And with that, The Doc blubbered like a baby.
That was the last video file.
I let several days go by without checking in with The Doc. He didn’t call me, either.
I thought to check Twitch to see if he was streaming. He was. He was in something called Hide and Seek Extreme. It looked lighthearted enough. But something was wrong, very wrong. The Doc looked completely drained. Drained to the point of being numb.
“I appreciate everyone watching today,” he said, allowing the statement to hang in the air a moment before continuing. “We’ll get through this, Champion’s Club. We’ll… we’ll… I, uh… life is weird right now.”
He must have been looking at his cell phone, because he reacted to something with an “Ah, fuck…” and the stream cut to one of his promos.
There were no further streams from him.
Twitch released a statement on Twitter, via a media outlet, that explained everything and nothing all at once:
“As is our process, we take appropriate action when we have evidence that a streamer has acted in violation of our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. These apply to all streamers regardless of status or prominence in the community.”
…or levels of occult dabbling, I thought to myself.
Her voice came to me again a few nights later. I guess I hadn’t answered her question to her satisfaction. I was barely awake when it was right there next to my ear, a breath that felt like frostbite:
“Do you want to take his place on The Path?”
“No, I don’t!” I said and pulled my pillow over my head.
And that was the last word.