A worker at a Flintstones Vitamin factory in Barstow, Calif., is recovering at a local hospital after she collapsed Friday morning when she lifted a fresh batch of the oddly sweet morsels out of the BamBamenator to find what she claimed was the Virgin Mary staring right back at her -- in the form of a Wilma vitamin.
The sighting also has caused a free-for-all on the Mexico-U.S. border, with Minutemen clamoring to get themselves ready for an "onslaught" of illegal crossings.
The woman -- later revealed to be an illegal immigrant from Empanada, Mexico -- screamed "Ay, Dios mío! Es la Virgen de Guadalupe!" before fainting in front of her station. Speculation quickly swirled around the factory, but none of the supervisors knew what was happening because they are white and don't speak Spanish.
As worker after worker ran to the woman's aid, each was mesmerized into submission by the alleged Virgin of Guadalupe vitamin, all collapsing into convulsions and writhing on the factory floor. An employee who requested to remain anonymous, saying only that he was in charge of Yaba Daba Do flair-control, said the combination of chemicals used to create the "flavor" of Flintstone Vitamins has sometimes resulted in "nuclear meltdown-like flashes of bright, colorful lights" throughout the factory. Sometimes, workers who are not protected by lead vests, which are 95 percent of the staff -- the remaining reportedly all white employees -- are adversely affected.
He said many unleaded workers experience regular seizures due to long days and the temperatures they are working in, as it requires an immense amount of energy from precious fossil fuels to create the iconic children's vitamins. (In media reports earlier this year, workers at the factory said they are paid less than $2.50 an hour and work 14 hours a day with one five-minute break. But because most, if not all, are in the country illegally, they can't do much about it. An investigation into the allegations by the state labor board was halted months later due to California's ongoing budget fiasco.)
After order was restored and all factory workers were corralled into freezers normally used to keep vitamins fresh, company officials summoned the Rev. Guido Sarducci, pastor of San José de los Trabajadores, the local Catholic church. After falling to his knees in front of the vitamin, he rose, making a sign of the cross, and reached under his cassock for his cell phone. Sarducci quickly snapped a photo of the vitamin and sent it, high priority, to the Vatican's "Validate the Vision" hot line. Within seconds he received a response saying further investigation was needed, but that he must keep the morsel from melting in the hands of believers.
"The Holy Father has dispatched Cardinal Recchiuti, who should 'appear' any moment," Sarducci said, reverently. Within the blink of an eye, a helicopter touched down on the roof of the building, dispatching the red-robed cardinal and two attachés. Sarducci had placed the vitamin in his own pillbox and promptly handed it to a member of the entourage, which disappeared nearly as quickly as it arrived.
The Flintstones Vitamin factory has suspended operations indefinitely, as is mandated by the Catholic Church when a Virgin of Guadalupe sighting is determined to be real or in need of further investigation. Only 200 such mandates have been given in the church's history.
Meanwhile, the crowds that began to surround the factory nearly immediately after the sighting have grown to an estimated 200,000.