The audience thrums with anticipation. They had listened to the opening band. Clapped for them, even. But they are here for Michael, waiting eagerly in the dim of the concert hall.
The crowd shifts as everyone cranes for a look at the stage, and a woman squeaks as something scaly brushes her bare arm.
"What the hell?" she says, turning half around.
"Don't worry," says her friend, who has been to a Bublé concert before. "It's just the velociraptor."
This doesn't calm the first woman down, but then Michael strides out onto the stage and everyone screams at once, a wall of joyful noise drowning out one very terrified shriek.
"We're so excited for the interview," says Jason Lynch. It's okay that you don't know who he is, he's a writer for People, he's used to being mostly anonymous.
"Always happy for the publicity," says Michael.
"Sure, sure," says Jason, and scribbles in his notepad. "So, how does it feel to be a famous Canadian?"
"Good, I think," says Michael, laughs. "I'm just so glad to have this opportunity to-"
He keeps talking, says all the things celebrity musicians do when a reporter is listening to them. Jason dutifully writes it all down, not thinking about it very much.
"If you were a tree," begins Jason, one final wrap up question, and then- "What on earth is that?"
Jason is staring at a point behind Michael's ear. Michael does not turn. His smile is fixed, now, his eyes glassy.
"What?" he asks.
Jason holds up his notepad with shaking hands, as if to use it for a shield.
Something moves behind Michael, and claws clack against the tile floor. Jason jerks in his chair.
"Don't run," says Michael, quietly. "Whatever you do, don't try to run."
Jason gurgles, and faints.
When he wakes up, Michael and the monster are gone.
Michael is walking through the streets of Toronto, talking to his agent.
"Over here, Michael!" shouts a photographer, and Michael turns and smiles. The photographer snaps a shot and gives him a thumbs up.
Later, going through photos on her laptop, she sees it.
"Did you get some good candids of Bublé?" Her editor leans over her shoulder.
"Boss," says the photographer, and hesitates.
"Nice smile, bit of blur," says the editor. "What else have you got?"
"Boss," says the photographer, and raises a shaking finger to point at the people behind Bublé. The editor squints at the crowd.
"Some guy in a costume," he decides. "If you got a cleaner shot, we can publish it. Some weird fan thing. Human interest story."
"I don't think that's a costume, Boss," says the photographer. "I don't think that's human."
"Don't be ridiculous, kid," says the editor. "What else could it be?"
Craig Ferguson is pacing, trailed by two make-up artists, a set designer, and two stagehands. The Late Late Show begins recording in an hour and a half.
"Right," says Craig. "For the opening we're going to need more puppets, and maybe a couple of guys wearing leather bustiers, and-" He gestures, and almost hits his assistant with one arm. "Yes? What is it?"
"Michael Bublé has some weird backstage requests," says his assistant. "I wanted to clear them with you first."
"We don't have the budget for any gold-encrusted sundaes," warns Craig.
"No, nothing like that," says the assistant. "He wants a hockey puck from the local team."
"Does Los Angeles even have a hockey team?" asks Craig.
"Yeah." The assistant holds up a hockey puck. "Got that, no trouble. I mean, we got a hockey puck and wrote 'LA Kings' on it in white-out, but I think that's fine."
"Sounds like you've got everything in hand." Craig starts gesturing around again, almost hits a make-up artist this time. That's okay, they've got extras. "Where's my horticulturist?"
"No, but there's more," says the assistant. "He says he need thirty pounds of raw meat. Fresh and bloody, he says."
Craig stops moving and focuses on the assistant. "Michael Bublé, right?" he says. "Jazzy musician man. Not a werewolf or anything."
"I don't think so," says the assistant. "But he says he needs the meat or he won't feel safe doing the show."
Craig shrugs. "All right. Use the network credit card, get some good stuff. But if Bublé walks onto set with blood all over him, I reserve the right to scream like a little girl and run for it."
"It'd make good television," says the assistant, as she walks away. Craig looks thoughtful.
"Hey!" he shouts at the harried stagehands. "Can we get hold of some fake blood? Three or four buckets?"
The Bublé tourbus is unmarked except for the bus company's name, but everyone notices it anyway.
Well, they don't notice the bus, not really. They notice what's running behind it.
Drivers scream and hit the brakes and pull out their phones to take photos. Somehow, no one crashes.
The Bublé tourbus drives on, leaving confusion and terror in a trail behind it.
You turn on the radio.
"This is Fresh Air," says the radio. "I'm Terry Gross. My guest, Michael Bublé, is one of Canada's biggest pop musicians. He's just released his new album, and he's here today to talk about that and about his early experiences with jazz. Michael, welcome to Fresh Air. It's great to have you on the show."
"It's great to be here, Terry," says Michael Bublé's smooth voice.
"So let me start by asking," says Terry and then hesitates. You hear something over the radio, something like a soft hiss.
"That's not a real velociraptor," says Terry. "It doesn't have any feathers."
Michael says nothing. You lean in close to the radio.
The soft hissing gets louder.
"I'm sorry," says Michael. "I didn't mean to bring it here."
"Okay," says Terry, and you can just hear the murmur of producers, other people in the studio. "Michael, we'll talk more after the break. This is Fresh Air."
The radio cuts off into static. You lean back, and close your eyes.
There is hot breath on the nape of your neck. You open your eyes, and Michael Bublé is sitting in the chair across from you.
"Hello," he says. "How are you?"
Something drools on your shoulder.
"It's not real," you say. "It can't be real. It was all a joke!"
Michael's smile is sad, so sad.
"Maybe to you," he says.