You can't just stroll into this house party: At the door, partyers are greeted by big guys dressed up like soldiers. They're all talking in Russian accents, and once you confirm you're on the list, you get a passport and a burlap sack filled with a shot glass, a first-aid kit, a glow stick, and a copy of Night Zero: Volume One, a comic book told in photographs about a weird pandemic that turns nearly everyone in Seattle into "scratchers," basically zombies with bad attitudes.
(Because you can't send The Stranger's book editor to a book-launch party and not expect a book review: The photo comics—you can check them out for free at nightzero.com—are good zombie fun. The dialogue is painfully bad and the plot moves a little too slowly, but the photographs make everything a little extra creepy.)
The party is a great time. A bartender is serving hooch (a powerful lemony vodka concoction) and Keystone beer ("The official drink of the apocalypse"). One hooched-up lady, frustrated at the heavy accents, announces: "Everybody's Russian in the zombopolis!" People have to go to different places in the house—a three-card monte booth, a "combat training seminar," a storyteller's table—and get their passports stamped in order to get to the "New City," which is the basement, where the more-exclusive dance party is going on. One woman who refers to herself as a "cool zombie girl" admonishes her companion for being a "squarebear." Someone asks a soldier if he can drink some of his hooch. The soldier pauses: "You don't have a cold or anything, do you?" You can't be too careful in the zombopolis.
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