It was nine o’clock on a Saturday, and the regular crowd shuffled into the bar. The pianist was playing Billy Joel songs on the piano, and the crowd were feeling alright.
Just then, a man burst in looking panicked. ‘Help me!’ he cried. ‘My house is on fire! Can someone please call the fire brigade?’
‘We didn’t start the fire,’ sang the pianist. ‘It was always burning since the world’s been turning.’
‘I didn’t accuse you of starting the bloody fire!’ spat the man. ‘And it just started this evening! I’m here because I need help!’
‘Cause you’re thinking everything’s gone wrong. Sometimes you just want to lay down and die.’
‘Everything has gone wrong! My house is burning down! Call 999!’
‘Got a call from an old friend, we used to be real close. Said he couldn’t go on the American way.’
The man stared at the pianist in disbelief and exclaimed, ‘Are you nuts?!’
‘You may be right; I may be crazy. But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.’
‘No, I’m not looking for a lunatic!’ fumed the man. ‘I need the fire brigade! Does anyone have a phone?’
‘We’re living here in Allentown,’ sang the pianist, ‘and they’re closing all the factories down.’
‘That one wasn’t even relevant to what I was saying!’ screamed the man. ‘Screw you!’ And he turned to look around the room.
‘And when you wake up in the morning with your head on fire, and your eyes too bloody to see, go on and cry in your coffee, but don’t come bitchin’ to me.’
He walked over to the barman and said, ‘Look, my house is on fire, and that fucking pianist is just jerking me around!’
The barman replied, ‘Just beat it, beat it. No one wants to be defeated.’ Then he grabbed his crotch and shouted, ‘Owwwwwww!’
The man shook his head and yelled, ‘You’re all fucking mental!’ And he went to leave. As he was walking out the door, he called back, ‘And that last one wasn’t even a bloody Billy Joel song!’