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The list of national problems boggled and concerned. Women, instead of caring for family, now ran for president, and unabashedly enjoyed sex while aborting at every turn. Courts banned prayer within public school walls, and queers ran around demanding the right to marry and to serve openly in the military. What a perversion of real values, Gar lamented.

Garfield Doyle wrestled with these dilemmas while trying to sleep, his unconscious mind attuned to and recording the list of problems destroying his beloved country. From the clock radio on his nightstand, Susan Wage, foremost talkmaster, the only one with the courage to speak the truth as understood by Gar, jabbered on with her long litany of liberalist wrongs.

Tired from a hard day of highway paving, Gar straddled the nether land between sleep and awake, radio spewing its suppositional venom, teasing his autopilot mind with what Sue spewed.

At twenty minutes after the hour, Sue finished a two-minute sponsor’s break by reading a script for a vitamin water distributor. “…and the special additives…” Gar’s sleep-spotty brain intermittently recorded, “…will make one feel…”

Break over, angry Sue continued after her target. “Queer,” Gar’s mental recorder paused right after she uttered the word, missing the next segment of Sue’s tirade, “people marrying in California, soon Washington state, and already they took control of the liberal bastion of New England slash New York. And Iowa – can you believe Iowa allows queers to marry?”

Gar woke the next morning, packed his lunch for the day, but passed on his usual three bottles of Hypa Vitamin Water, something he drank because his doctor kept telling him to take vitamins when working outside and consuming lots of water. Somewhere underneath his consciousness, a strong resistance akin to the push against Eve picking the apple, insisted he not take the water. Puzzled, he went with a few cans of ginger ale.

Hours later, as he pancaked freshly dumped asphalt on the Interstate with his Dynapac CC1000 roller, Gar recalled why he should not drink Hypa water. It was news, big news, and he couldn’t wait to warn his buddies during lunch.

“I’m telling you, Sue Wage talked about it last night. Hypa Vitamin Water is spiked, and if you drink it, it will make you queer.”

“You drank some yesterday, are you sayin’ you turned all queer on us, Gar?” Ben Ken Folsom challenged.

“No, mine’s from an old batch, silly. My batch is okay, the new stuff… say, when did you buy your bottle, Ken?”

This morning, at the Seven Eleven.” Ken looked at his bottle, felt his throat parch, but he left his bottle untouched. He’d yet to have a sip. When the attention of the others diverted to the arrival of Mick, he emptied its contents. Two others in the group, also hiding their actions, did the same thing. All went thirsty rather than drink the suspicious vitamin water.

That night, the workers told friends, all of whom scoffed, all of whom emptied out their refrigerated collections of Hypa Vitamin Water. Going retro, soda became the new norm along the road congestion creating construction projects of the region. Local convenience stores, once moving two train cars of Hypa Water a week, couldn’t move a six-pack.

Three days in, the rumour went viral on Facebook. Rally Around Traditional Family started a petition urging the parent company of Hypa Vitamin Water to recall their product. The virulent anti-gay group plotted a lawsuit for attempting to alter God fearing hetero folk into gay sex sneaking heathens.

The spouse of a prominent presidential candidate established support services for those who felt homosexual urges because of consuming Hypa Vitamin Water. On the first day of support services, six hundred and sixty six contacted the ex-gay advocates, a number that left its androgynous president John Dollop, aghast.

“Couldn’t you have taken one more call?” he chastised the support team leader.

The next night, the story hit the Republican presidential debate. Anti-gay activists demonstrated through the venerable college auditorium chanting ‘Adam and Eve, not Mariam and Eve!’ After security cleared the moral police interlopers from the premises, the debate turned toward Hypa Vitamin Water.

The leading candidate denounced the product, promised a full investigation if elected, as well as a ban on all homosexual-encouraging products. The number two candidate mocked the idea, pointing out the leader held strong ties to corporate America and to the company producing Hypa Vitamin Water. “You’re a Hypa Vitamin Water supporter. You’re Super Pac received a $100,000 donation from them on Monday. Moreover, hypocrite that you are, your Super Pac accepted the money even as you sold all your stock in the company the day before the news hit. Can you say ‘insider trading’?”

Stock trading on the parent company halted the day after the debate; the company sought bankruptcy protection. The candidate fell from front-runner status and faced potential federal indictment for selling stock in the parent company of Hypa Vitamin Water. The third in line candidate surged into the lead amongst the right on the strength of a rally where he made a grand show of dumping truckloads of Hypa Vitamin Water in a parking lot.

The next day, Global Nut News reported the city’s water recycling facility had no means of filtering out the secret gay ingredient in Hypa Vitamin Water. Only the fresh water feed from upstate flowed into the city, creating a dire water shortage shutting down facilities with high water usage, throwing thousands out of work. The city introduced rationing and filed suit against the candidate for pouring a known toxin into its sewage system, while the state filed a formal charge of domestic terrorism, forcing the candidate to drop out and self-defend.

A week later, the story screeched into an endpoint when five independent laboratories reported they found no traces of secret additives in Hypa Vitamin Water.

Alone and in bed that Friday night, Gar tuned in to Sue Wage, wondering how such crazy rumours as the Hypa Vitamin Water one got started. He dozed off as Sue ranted on illegal immigration, while his consciousness danced around and dipped into the periphery of sleep. On the radio, Sue read a public service announcement for the Federal Housing Authority.