You're in a bar, a bar in goddamn New York City. You've been nursing a glass of whiskey for hours. Hell, of course you've been. What else would you be doing, a night like this, and after that boy...well, we won't get into that, will we? Romance is so difficult these days. Everyone's so crazy. It's the city, you think, it's the city that's driving everybody so nutty. It's gotta be. Goddamn New York City.

Up on the stage there's a girl who's been singing for a while. Some kinda avant-garde thing. She's been screeching and hollering her way through a bunch of old Blues standards for maybe a half hour now. Not really your thing, but she is pretty. Pretty, hell. She's beautiful. A simple, tasteful black dress contrasts harshly with her face, which is powdered so heavily as to look like a porcelain doll. Her lips are bright, bright red. Her eyelids have been painted a glittering golden color. She's stopped singing now, and she's talking to you. Well, she's talking to the audience anyway, witty banter to introduce her next song.

"This is a very sweet little song..." she says. Everybody laughs.

"No, really."

"I played it in San Francisco one night, and a journalist really, really gave me a very bad review."

She starts to play some notes on her piano. The tune's upbeat, kinda bluesy, kinda ragtime-y. The kind of thing your father always used to put on the turntable when he needed to relax. Then she starts to sing. She's not hollerin' or screechin' any more. Her voice is confident and controlled, but soft.

Arms covered in blood, the war has begun
Hide the straight razor 'cos baby's insane
New telephone number, new lock on the door
Hide all the knives 'cos baby's insane

Baby's insane, baby's insane
Baby's on a trip to the moon again
Baby's insane, baby's insane
Hide all the knives cos baby's insane

She stops singing for a moment, looks out at the audience. "It's very pretty, doncha think?" she asks in a dirty, mocking tone. Everybody laughs. By this point, you're kinda entranced by the whole act, the whole damn film noir nightclub perversity of the act, the mockingness of the song. Hell, you think, after that damn boy, maybe I outta just go insane. I can show him a thing or to about insanity. He thinks he's so tough....

The roaches are flying while she sleeps at night
Scream over her bed "help us find some light"
It stinks of Velveeta, one is under her tongue
Dreaming of you with a hand on her gun

She runs down your birthday till the cats on the lawn
All bare their claws at the sound of your name
Don't knock on her window, don't knock on her door
She's rigged up your welcome one inch off the floor

Baby's insane, baby's insane
Baby's on a trip to the moon again
Baby's insane, baby's insane
Hide all the knives 'cos baby's insane

She's picked your white roses from the funeral page
There's a whole lot of cities where a good man can age
I know that she loves you but it's time to move on
Don't miss the bus 'cos baby's insane

Baby's insane, baby's insane
Baby's on a trip to the moon again
Baby's insane, baby's insane
Don't miss the bus cos baby's insane

The audience bursts out in applause as soon as the final rendition of the chorus breaks into those final finishing chords. "He was such a spoilsport, " the songstress continues when the claps die down, "trying to ruin all my fun...And I wrote that one myself, motherfucker..."

But you're already out of there. Before she can even start up her next song, some deranged alleycat version of a Hank Williams tune, you've already downed the last of your whiskey and are out on the streets, muttering under your breath. This damn city. It'll get to ya, man, it'll get to ya.

With all due apologies to Diamanda Galás, who wrote the above song and gave the above performance of it, as documented on her live album La Serpenta Canta.