In her last posts, Goldie Gold­bloom wrote about why she’s total­ly going to be excom­mu­ni­cat­ed and about her cute, old stalk­er.

In order to research an obscure (but true) mas­sacre which is part of my nov­el Toads’ Muse­um of Freaks and Won­ders, I trav­elled to that part of Italy where mas­sive­ly heavy mar­ble trucks roll down sin­gle lane moun­tain roads that look more like land­slides. It’s a beau­ti­ful region. Next time, how­ev­er, I want a don­key. And a parachute:

In part one, she rents a small Fiat that comes ready equipped with an over­flow­ing ash­tray, a GPS unit (more on this lat­er) and a pair of sandy biki­ni bot­toms on the pas­sen­ger seat. Mine!” gig­gles the book­ing agent, snatch­ing them off the seat and wig­gling her butt in a way that con­trives to be both sexy and slimming.

In part two, the author attempts to dri­ve the Fiat up rock face that has been described erro­neous­ly as the road to her accom­mo­da­tions in a gor­geous but fair­ly inac­ces­si­ble medieval vil­lage. She has read the direc­tions which state that even thought the road looks impos­si­ble, if you keep your foot on the accel­er­a­tor, you will even­tu­al­ly get there or die in the attempt. Halfway up, the engine burns out and the Fiat begins to grace­ful­ly roll back­wards towards the non-exis­tent safe­ty rail. It’s begin­ning to look more like the die in the attempt version.

In part three, the Fiat’s GPS unit tells her (once the engine has been replaced or what­ev­er it is that is done with burned-out engines) to dri­ve through a con­crete mix­er. And through a ter­ra­cot­ta stu­dio. And up an insane­ly steep moun­tain and into some farmer’s chick­en hutch. All in the vain hunt for a bot­tle of Coke. Because, you know, Coke is life, and I’m need­ing some at this point. Life, that is.

In part four, the GPS unit is dubbed the Nav­i­ga­tion Bitch, because of the way she shrieks No! No! No! You utter moron! You’ve gone way too far! What are you, some kind of idiot Aus­tralian for attempt­ing to dri­ve on Ital­ian roads or what???”

In part five, the author attempts, yet again, to dri­ve up the road to her accom­mo­da­tions. She notes, appre­cia­tive­ly, how some­one has thought­ful­ly bent out the ten inch guard rail in the place where the road isn’t actu­al­ly as wide as her car, so that there will be some­place for the tires to go when she turns the cor­ner at that stone house that has already gouged the side of the rental car (before she fig­ured out that the road isn’t as wide as the car…). She reminds her­self not to look down on the guard rail side, because she’s afraid of heights, and she reminds her­self to keep her foot on the accel­er­a­tor, because the hill is very steep, but not give it too much gas, because if she press­es too hard, the engine will burn out and she and the Fiat will, in fact, roll back­wards and fall grace­ful­ly down that steep chasm that she isn’t look­ing at right now.

In part six, the author decides to dri­ve up to Sant’Anna, loca­tion of the mas­sacre in Toads’ Muse­um of Freaks and Won­ders, but gives the dri­ving over to her friend, who is an expert dri­ver. The friend, how­ev­er, freaks out halfway up the moun­tain, gets out of the car and sits by the side of the road and says that she is not going any fur­ther because it’s too bloody dan­ger­ous and she hopes to see me in a cou­ple of hours but isn’t count­ing on it. The Fiat, cour­te­ous­ly, begins to roll back­wards, as the hand­brake wasn’t quite up to the job.

In part sev­en, the author hires an inter­preter to go with her the next day and lets the inter­preter dri­ve. As she is local, the inter­preter spends a large amount of time point­ing out spots where her friends have fall­en off the moun­tain in their cars. She also screams at the dri­vers of mar­ble trucks and big bus­es until they back up and let her go first. She knows all the best swear words and uses them frequently.

In part eight, the author decides to dri­ve on flat coastal roads, just to steady her nerves for a lit­tle while. When she pulls out to pass a grand­ma, a fast Ital­ian sports car appears on the hori­zon and in sec­onds is an inch from her bumper, beep­ing and flash­ing his lights. When the author still con­tin­ues to pass the grand­ma, the fast car gen­tly bumps her car in the rear bumper. They are dri­ving at about 100 miles an hour. When she men­tions this inci­dent at an Auto­Gril­li, the atten­dent smiles and says Lady, that lane called the spat­u­la lane, cause they need spat­u­la to pick you up off the road if you stay in there and dri­ve slow.”

In part nine, the Coke must be help­ing, because I am still alive.

Goldie Goldbloom’s new nov­el, Toads’ Muse­um of Freaks and Won­ders, is now avail­able. She has been blog­ging all week for the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and MyJew­ish­Learn­ing.

Goldie Goldbloom’s first nov­el, The Paper­bark Shoe, won the AWP Prize and is an NEA Big Reads selec­tion. She was award­ed a Nation­al Endow­ment for the Arts Fel­low­ship, and has been the recip­i­ent of mul­ti­ple grants and awards includ­ing fel­low­ships from War­ren Wil­son, North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty, the Brown Foun­da­tion, the City of Chica­go, and the Eliz­a­beth George Foun­da­tion. She is chas­sidic and the moth­er of eight children.