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Santa Claws is Coming to Town

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Partway into filming his 2012 Christmas special, Michael Bublé had the sudden shocking realization that there was a dinosaur in his studio audience.

It was sitting in the second row off to the left, the studio lights reflecting off its reptilian skin. Its large golden eyes followed Michael as he moved back and forth across the stage, never once looking anywhere else. Michael wasn’t much of a dinosaur fan, but it kind of looked like one of the velociraptors from Jurassic Park.

He nearly stumbled over the words to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Carly Rae Jepsen gave him an odd look before launching back into her half of the duet. Michael plastered a smile on his face and carried on as best he could.

“Are you okay?” Carly Rae whispered after the cameras had cut away.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Michael said.

And still those yellow eyes kept watching him.

***

He called the producer during a commercial break, while the stage-hands were getting everything ready for his duet with Elmo.

“Michelle,” he said, “you’re going to think I’m crazy, but there’s a velociraptor sitting in the audience, watching me.”

There was a long silence at the other end of the line before she answered. “Michael,” she said slowly. “Dinosaurs have been extinct for 65 million years. Are you sure you see a velociraptor in the studio?”

He peeked back out past the camera ops. “Yep, it’s still there.”

There was another long pause before Michelle spoke again. “You know, maybe you should take a break after we wrap on this. You’ve been working really hard on promoting the re-released Christmas CD, and your tour dates. You deserve a nice rest.”

“I’m not going crazy,” he said.

“Of course not,” she answered. “Kevin Clash has the Elmo puppet ready to go for your duet with him. Are you good to continue?”

“Of course. Don’t want to disappoint the fans.” Even if that meant wondering whether or not he was seeing things.

***

The velociraptor kept on watching him throughout the concert. No one else seemed to notice. The other people in the audience paid no mind to the large scaly dinosaur sitting next to them. The crew members running around didn’t seem to notice. He asked Rod Stewart if he saw anything unusual about the audience, but he just pointed out a pretty blonde sitting near the front and smiled.

While singing with the ghost of Bing Crosby, Michael decided that there were only two options available.

One, he was right,and there was a dinosaur watching the filming of his Christmas special. A dinosaur that had somehow survived extinction and was a big enough fan of pop standards to get a ticket to the show.

Two, he was wrong, and he was imagining a dinosaur in his studio audience. Maybe Michelle was right, and he needed to take a break from his busy schedule before he started seeing dinosaurs everywhere.

He was going to have to sit down and think about this later.

***

The day was long, but they finally wrapped the special. As the audience stood to applaud, he noticed the velociraptor slink out of the studio.

His wife Luisana leaned over and kissed him.

“Good job,” she said. “I think this’ll be another hit.”

“I hope so,” Michael said. “NBC said something about airing it in primetime.” He smiled. “Are you sticking around for the after party?”

“I’m going to stop at home first to change. Meet you there?”

“Sure.” They kissed again, and Luisana wandered off to greet the rest of their family.

Michael waved to the crew, and headed out the back door to his car.

The velociraptor stood in the parking lot, something lumpy resting by its feet.

Michael froze. His heart beat in his chest. He couldn’t get to his car. Maybe if he snuck back inside, he could escape the velociraptor. He slowly backed away toward the stage door.

The back of his shoe hit a metal pipe, and it echoed with a loud clang. The velociraptor’s head jerked up. Its eyes went wide and then narrowed. It stalked forward toward him, bobbing back and forth like a bird.

Michael didn’t know what to do. He stood there, frozen in shock, as the velociraptor approached, until it was close enough that he could see himself reflected in its eyes.

A lumpy, poorly wrapped present dropped at his feet.

Michael looked at the present, then up to the velociraptor, then back down at the present. “Is… Is this for me?” he asked.

The velociraptor nodded.

“Is… this a Christmas present?”

The velociraptor nodded harder.

Michael picked up the package. It was surprisingly light, and covered in pieces of tape to patch little rips in the wrapping paper. He pulled at one of the corners and ripped it open.

The paper fell away to reveal a surprisingly well made Christmas sweater. The picture on the front showed a cartoonish dinosaur and a brown-haired human holding hands and smiling.

“Did you make this?” Michael asked.

The velociraptor nodded. It reached out a wickedly curved claw to point at the human on the sweater, and then at Michael’s chest, before turning its head away bashfully.

Michael felt surprisingly touched by the gesture. “Thank you,” he said.

The velociraptor kept looking away, but opened its arms wide. When Michael stared at it in confusion, the dinosaur looked back and mimed hugging itself.

Michael hesitated. This was a velociraptor, a fearsome carnivorous dinosaur. He’d seen Jurassic Park; he knew what could happen. But still…

“Oh, why not?” he said, and leaded forward to give the velociraptor a quick hug.

It hugged him back, careful not to let its sharp claws rip through his flesh. When they pulled away, Michael could see tears glistening in the velociraptor’s big golden eyes.

Michael smiled. “Merry Christmas,” he said.

The velociraptor let out a happy roar, before bounding away out of the studio lot.

***

“That’s a nice sweater,” Luisana said when he got to the party. “Where’d you get that?”

“Oh, just a gift from a fan,” Michael said. “The usual sort of thing.”