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I work for a teleconferencing company in New York and I've been sent to London for three months to start a branch there. I'm pretty excited about the whole thing but my first night in my apartment was a nightmare.

I tried to be brave and hit the Friday night pub scene by myself. I choose O'Neils.

Though I didn't know it at the time, it turns out that O'Neils is a corporate-owned, Irish-themed, chain bar. An English Shenanigans. There are sha-lay-lees all over the place and the bathrooms are marked in Gaelic.

As I pound my beer, I notice that the people there are all like English equivalents of Florida frat boys and sorority girls. There's a little dance floor that I'm too scared to go onto. Luckily (I thought at the time) a witch of a girl grabs me and snarls, "Talk to my friend." The witch woman looked like pure evil and was so drunk that her eyes had gone googly and were rolling to the back of her head. However, since I was so relieved to be talking to someone, I started talking with her friend. Her friend seemed like a nice girl. She's a grad student who studies reefs and will be traveling to Figi this June. If the people in Figi are anything like Samoans, then she will fit in perfectly, for she is spherical.

Anyway we're talking away and I buy us both another drink (hers was a horrible orange vodka drink like "hoochs") and as we're talking, her witch friend (who is happily being groped by a beefy, tight T-shirted English guy) drunkenly calls out to her, "Go shag him! Go off and shag him!" I'm in shock and can only say, "Gosh, your friend is pretty wild."

Two minutes pass and the witch staggers back to us. "Isn't he lovely?" says Figi, who I realize must also be a witch if she is friends with the other girl. "Yeah, he's lovely" slurs the witch.

We weren't really hitting it off, but Figi still decides to put her arm around my waist and squeeze me. I scoot out of the way, but the witch woman stops me and pushes Figi and I together. "Snog!" she orders, "You two should start snogging!" She spat out the words in the most awful way imaginable.

That was enough for me and so I said I had to hit the dance floor. Luckily, I wasn't followed. I did a little dancing and was pleased to find that only half the people were turning their backs to me in disgust. One short, crazy-eyed girl looked up at me and said, "Finally, a guy who can dance." With this, she was instantly entered into my good book and I danced and talked with her a bit. Like many of the people in the bar, she was completely hammered and she soon started displaying her rather bitter and angry side. I can't remember what brought it up but she ended up saying, "Ha, ha, of course you're gay, very funny." "Uh, actually, I'm really not," I said.

At that point her facial expression became evil and she started spitting out her words.

I know I shouldn't care what she thinks, and lots of people have thought that I was gay, but for some reason the cruel way she started shouting at me was crushing. She was laughing very loudly at me, "Everything about you is gay. The way you look, the way you move" she spat. "Ha ha! I'm telling you, you're GAY!" Her laugh was infuriating and terribly mean-spirited.

Back at my lonely studio apartment, I tried to go to sleep and forget about my night when suddenly I heard screaming curses and the sounds of things crashing right outside my room. I'm in a little section of an apartment complex with no floor above me. There's a little brick walkway/courtyard that separates my room from the apartment across from me. Suddenly, objects began crashing against my front door. I put on shorts and a T-shirt and opened the door.

A woman was in the doorway to the other apartment and she was throwing everything she could find at a man in the courtyard. They were both screaming obscenities and there were teabags, corn flakes, and broken tins of baked beans and mushroom soup all over the place. My bare feet were slipping in the filth.

"Is there a problem?" I asked.

"There's no problem, go back to bed" the man snarled.

"OK, well I can't sleep with all of this going on, and either way, lets see what she has to say" I said bravely. The man was a drunk thug who had murder in his eyes.

She looked like a psycho as well and she screamed that there was a problem. She said she wanted him to leave. LEAVE!!!!

"I'm telling you," he said glaring at me, "Go to fucking bed!"

He said he lived here, implying I had no right to tell him what to do. I told him I couldn't go to bed with all this fighting. We did some obscenity-laced screaming and he got right in my face while I stood in freezing cold baked beans and watched the girlfriend go ape shit. Luckily a very nice Scotsman appeared who was one of their flat mates. He assured me he would try to sort things out. Despite this, the boyfriend barked at me "Are you queer?" and yelled that I was a "bastard American."

While all of this was transpiring, the girlfriend had managed to lock the boyfriend out of the flat. Realizing this, he runs up, kicks out the glass part of the door and reaches around to unlock it. I quickly nip back in my room to put on my sneakers when the Scottish roommate informs me that the girlfriend has locked herself in his room.

Soon after, the girl's parents arrive, the boyfriend locks himself in the room and the girlfriend goes back to trashing the apartment. Strangely, the girl's parents were wearing evening gown and tuxedo. They are musicians at the Savoy and they had just finished a show. They chat with me and tell me that the boyfriend is psycho, but so is the daughter and that they would love to buy me a drink at the Savoy sometime. I can't remember my phone number and they say that it's too bad, and that they're sorry for all the mess.

Anyway, the screaming stopped and the girl packed up most of her stuff and left with her parents. The boyfriend remembered nothing of the event and the baked beans didn't get cleaned up until two days later. The owners promised me they are evicting the boyfriend and that that sort of thing never happens here.

Luckily, on Sunday, the Scottish flat mate took me out to a much nicer pub. The people were worlds different from O'Neils and I'm back to feeling positive about everything. I am living in the very hip Islington neighborhood (Tony Blair grew up here) am trying to be brave and hit the pub scene again. If anyone can recommend some local places I would very grateful.

--Oliver Turner

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