The countdown has begun—not to the celebra-tory night of December 31, 1999, but instead to the following day. The morning papers won't come. Your TV

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THE BEST LAST PLACES

The ultimate guide to the millennial chaos ahead.

The countdown has begun—not to the celebra-tory night of December 31, 1999, but instead to the following day. The morning papers won't come. Your TV set will be dead. The phone will just make a dull clicking sound. Your car won't start, and there'll be no running water or electricity. But that's no reason not to go out and have some fun! Why head to the office when our economy has reverted to a primitive system of looting and barter? Instead, take the day off to sample the very best of whatever's left of panic-stricken Seattle! With your enjoyment—and survival—in mind, we've devised the following eschatological index to Seattle's best, last places. So remember to save and laminate this list, and good luck in the coming anarchy!

Best place to obtain weapons

Sure, you might immediately think (1) John McCaw's house or (2) the numerous gun and pawn shops on the SeaTac strip, but those will be the first places looters empty out after the inevitable breakdown of law and society. Instead, visit the now-abandoned Seattle Police Department building, whose arsenal contains 560 unused Smith & Wesson .38-caliber revolvers. (Suggested retail value: $275 each—available to you gratis!) Ordered, but never fired, prior to the department's 1994 conversion to semiautomatic Glocks, these shiny new six-shooters are sure to earn you the respect of nosy neighbors and marauding strangers alike. Since the cops will have long since fled to east of the Cascades, here's your best bet to protect yourself, your family, and your valuable food cache.

Best place to barter your Lexus for food

All those hours spent buffing your LX450's paint to a glossy shine haven't been wasted! Since gas won't be available in the post-apocalyptic future, just push it down to any convenient former Metro Park & Ride lot, where informal auto bazaars are held by torchlight. And brush up on your haggling skills—since there's no such thing as a fixed price post-Y2K. Remember, a well-maintained luxury automobile is worth its weight in lentils! (Unless you're a smoker or it needs transmission work.)

Best place to gather news

Since the Net is down and newspapers no longer publish, the best post-millennial "high-tech" communication network will be the smoke-signal bulletins sent from Seattle's high spots. Capitol Hill and Queen Anne Hill offer excellent vantage points for getting up to date on all the latest news, weather, and sports, while Beacon Hill will once again live up to its name! Expect reports every hour on the hour from Jean Enerson and Jeff Renner, subject to interruption by darkness, clouds, and damp kindling.

Best place to ambush unsuspecting passersby

Running low on supplies? Tired of eating undersalted squirrel jerky? Replenishing your inventory of survival goods is easier than you think! The key is to surreptitiously position yourself along a popular trade route, then spring upon your hapless prey. We recommend the confusing labyrinth of Freeway Park for its abundance of nooks and crannies—practically designed with crime in mind! Unwary foot travelers will be loaded down with barter goods and foodstuffs en route to downtown open-air bazaars, making for ripe pickings indeed.

Best place to retrofit your SUV

Bring new charm and added horsepower to your otherwise inoperable Range Rover or Grand Cherokee by visiting Emerald Downs for a whole new power plant! Choose from a stable full of former longshots, saved from the glue factory and now available to pull your SUV stagecoach-style to any destination. (Bullwhips not included.) Also, be sure to ask about special deals on obtaining an out-of-work jockey to serve as your personal indentured serf! They'll work for food and eat far less than your new horse team.

Best underground refuge from roving bands of mutant zombies

Forget about Pioneer Square's Underground Seattle tour—that's the first place where flesh-eating zombies will be looking after the millennium! (In case you haven't previously noticed, they've been congregating there for years, arriving by out-of-state tour bus.) A far better, safer option is the disused downtown Metro bus tunnel, where other terrified citizens huddle together for mutual protection. Enjoy the campfires and friendly camaraderie! Reminisce about those long-ago days, pre-Y2K, when sprawl was our greatest fear.

Best source of potable water

After a long day of plying the nomadic hunter-gatherer existence, a person can work up a powerful thirst. In the meantime, however, all the wells have run dry and Microsoft alchemists are still searching for a viable means of desalinization. ("We think version 2.0 will taste less brackish.") Thankfully, there will be one water-filled oasis where rainfall has collected in its natural open-air basin. That's right—we're talking about the abandoned Safeco Field, whose retractable roof could never be made to work properly, serving as a vital reservoir of drinking water. (Please note that season ticket holders have priority in line.)

Best medical care

In the ruins of our former civilization, a new social and medical order will inevitably arise. But making an appointment to see your local surgeon-barber will no longer require endless paperwork and waiting room delays! Instead, to arrange for the very latest, cutting-edge bleeding techniques at Bastyr University's Naturopathic Clinic—unaffected by the loss of electricity and technology—simply remember to bring a few pelts to trade for medical services. Removing hexes or arrowheads may require an extra fee, payable in salt.

Best gym

You'd think it would be easy to stay in shape fighting off the looters and barbarians, but all those nuts, berries, and grubs can really put on unwanted pounds! Sure, it's important to store up fat for the long hard winter ahead, but when spring rolls around you'll want to look your best for mate selection and battling the alpha male or female of your clan. That's why we recommend working out at the YMCA/YWCA, which features all the finest health equipment, including rocks, larger rocks, and really large rocks.

Best place to enjoy a cup of coffee

After foraging in the rubble of our shattered metropolis, there's nothing more relaxing than a steaming-hot latte at Seattle's one surviving chain of coffee bars. However, the ambiance at Starbucks cafes has been somewhat altered by their transformation into temples of human sacrifice by a 21st-century cult of pagan coffee-bean worshippers. Don't mind their bloody astrological rituals as you find a seat to enjoy your mochaccino; you have nothing to worry about unless you're a virgin under the age of 14. And, remember to leave a donation in the tip jar after worshipping at the altar of the espresso machines, operated by a priestly class of robe-wearing baristas whose strong drinks are thought to have life-sustaining powers.

Go to the 1999 Best of Seattle main page >>.

 
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