I was lost, stuck between 1 and 5, trying to reach either, when I stumbled on the place. A lonely hermit - an inventor. He perfected water. Streamlined it. Reduced it to its refreshing watery essence.
The guy made the water in the back. He claimed he signed every molecule. I can't explain the technology - some nanotech, some kind of molecule scraping, and some sort of magnetic process. Six years ago the inventor had told me all about it, enthusiastically enough that I couldn't understand him. He had a restaurant that served only water, ten dollars a cup, and it was worth it.
I went there six years ago and ordered the water. It tasted more... Well, it tasted more like water than normal water could. Three times as refreshing as normal water - I imagine it could extinguish magical fires.
Anyway, I took a detour to go there again. The inventor had done well. The water restaurant was starting to catch on. Crowds of people, long lines. A lot less humble. The inventor wasn't there in his straw hat to greet every customer. There was a register instead of a cash box, and there were a lot more seats -- plastic seats.
The word had spread and demand had gone up. A cup of water now costs twenty-five dollars and the place was packed.
Let's make this clear. I wasn't sad -- I was glad the inventor's vision had caught on. I bought a cup and congratulated myself on discovering the place "before it was cool."
Once I took a sip, though, I was furious. I knew what they'd done. The water they sold was still a lot better than normal water, but it was different. Halfway between the old water and regular bottled spring water.
They'd watered down the water.