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My Life in Spain
By Matt Price

I am saved by a tattooed 18-year-old wardrobe assistant who looks like a cooler Spanish version of my cousin Julie. When you travel, everyone you meet looks like a foreign version of someone you know, and I am certain of this because I've been out of the country one other time. Cooler Spanish Cousin kisses me twice on the cheeks and takes me into a trailer to find an outfit that is "muy loco." After trying on fifteen different options, each one more muy loco than the next, she settles on her favorite: very tight blue warm up pants, a beat up red parka, one black shoe, one white shoe, and a hunter's cap. I want to ask her why someone needs a "muy loco" outfit to chase a cat around. I want to ask why I'm here at all. I want to ask if all of those tattoos hurt. I instead say "gracias," and an American actor from another cat-chasing spot walks in. I've never been so happy to see an actor from Los Angeles. We shake hands and exchange agent information which only doesn't annoy me when in Spain, and he leaves. Cooler Spanish cousin says, "You lucky…he work with cat."

"What do you mean? I work with cat, don't I?"

"No. You work with car."

"Car? What do I do with car?"

"Uh…I don't…"

Our communications had gone as far as they could. A car? What kind of operation is this? Is Spain full of lunatics? And then I realize why they spent so many Euros to get me here. This isn't a dog food commercial shoot. It's a porn shot. It's a porn shoot for people with balding men fetishes. Scalps Gone Wild. This muy loco costume is a ruse. I'll be showing my chorizo by sun-up tomorrow.

Back at my hotel, I order room service and pace around my room. I've been awake for about 36 hours. I'm losing my mind. There's a discotheque in the lobby downstairs, and I walk past that to get to the library so I can go online to see if the Cubs won. All of the AOL commands are in Spanish. What am I doing here?

"Money, my friend. Mo-nay."

"Money? For a dog food commercial? You're such a sell out."

"Sell out? How? You can't be a sell out if you got nothing to sell."

"Shut up, dude."

"You shut up."

I go upstairs and call Tamara. I call my sister. I call my parents.

"Hey, how's it going?"

"Pretty good. Aren't you in Spain?"

"Yup, yup. But enough about me. What's going on in the states?"

"Not much different than yesterday…when you left the states."

A few hours later, my silent driver takes me to the porn shoot in suburban Madrid. It's 5 AM. It's dark out. I wonder if the shoot will be with men or women. I've never kissed a man before, let alone had sex with one. I wonder if it's different in Spain. America's Greatest Hits plays on the CD player. Is "Ventura Highway" some euphemism for a Spanish sexual position that I will soon come to understand?

When we arrive, I put on my super tight, pre-sex warm up pants and meet Victor, the director. He explains the shot: I am supposed to chase a car down the street, yelling "hey!" at the car, you know, like a dog would.

"Just, 'hey?'"

"Yes, but like a dog would."

Of course, like a dog would say 'hey.' Victor yelled "actionne!," and I chased the car. He yelled "coupez!," and I stopped. I did this about fifteen times, and Victor came over and with his thick yet gentle Spanish accent said, "fantastic, Matt, fantastic…uh, act more like a dog if possible. If not, it's OK. It's great."

So I did it another fifteen times, and Luka, the lone English speaking P.A., tells me that he can drive me back to the hotel now, and just like that, we were done. Apparently Victor, the Spanish director, ended the shoot early because he had to be home by sunset every Friday. "He is…how you say…Jewish?" So that's it. No kidnapping. No Scalps Gone Wild. Just a good, old fashioned dog food commercial which, to me, was the weirdest outcome of all.

At the hotel, I take advantage of my delirious state and ask Luka if he had any idea why I was flown 7,000 miles to wear a muy loco outfit and chase a car down the street. He laughs and tells me that they actually had auditions in Spain, and they couldn't find anybody. Then they had auditions in England and couldn't find anybody. And so they had auditions in Los Angeles, and now "here you are." He tells me also that the Spanish commercial industry or "publicite" wasn't very big, and that's why they're hiring American actors.

"The actors that are Spanish, they are…how you say…leading men… They are not…um…the ones with character. Like you."

I laugh, and he says, "You should be flattered though. You were literally the best dog imperson-ee-ator in the world."

The next morning, I sit in the Delta Crown Room in Madrid waiting for my plane back to America. The room is full of loud Americans complaining about the pulp in the orange juice. I overhear a small tour group from Florida talking about how Curb Your Enthusiasm is the funniest show on TV, and "Did you see the one where Larry told the black guy to get his car because he thought he was the valet?" That's so American," I muttered under my breath, as I left the Madrid Crown Room for the main terminal to get one more glimpse of the beautiful Spaniards walking by.

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