Despite repeated protests that it had always been burning since the world was turning, musician Billy Joel was arrested on Monday night by state troopers for his part in an upscale Brooklyn house fire that left four people with life-threatening injuries and the building in ruins.
“At this point Billy Joel is the primary suspect of our investigation,” said deputy police chief Joe Menkoff. “He gave a lengthy, rhyming list of people/things/ideas that he accused of committing the crime but the majority have ironclad alibis. I’ve been on the force for 32 years and I’ve never heard of an entire country or a long-deceased baseball player being charged with arson or attempted murder, but this is New York, so stranger things have happened.”
Mr. Joel’s roll call of alleged arsonists included among others Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray, South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio, Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television, North Korea, South Korea and Marilyn Monroe. He went on to name Rosenbergs, H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom, Brando, The King & I, and The Catcher In The Rye as persons of interest.
“These wild accusations are completely baseless and insulting to the legacy of one of America’s greatest authors,” said Peter Fineberg, who represents the estate of J.D. Salinger. “Mr. Joel may think he’s a big shot but he will held accountable for his libel and criminal actions.”
Joel, who claimed to be having dinner with an uptown girl at a nearby Italian restaurant when the fire started, will be represented by Clarence Darrow III. Darrow released a statement which said that, “Mr. Joel is an innocent man who didn’t light it and was simply caught trying to fight it. You may be right that Piano Man is one of the most overplayed songs in history, but his greatest crime is writing A Matter of Trust – not starting a deadly fire.”
Tom Booth, the lead prosecutor for the case, seems intent on pursuing the death penalty for Joel. “Only the good die young, but that doesn’t mean we won’t try to fry his wrinkly old ass. If they don’t have the courage to flip the switch, we’ll seek to have him put away for the longest time,” said Booth. “No one, not even the man who dated Elle McPherson and married Christie Brinkley, is above the law.”
The trial is set to begin early 2017 in Miami.