the issue: My wife's laptop has a "stuck" key, but not stuck in the sense that it is down all the time, it just appears to be "on"

the story: The dog was not put in her crate, jumped onto the kitchen table with nobody home, knocked over the vase of roses I had bought the day before for he wife's birthday, thereby dumping a quart of water or so directly onto the laptop, sitting on the seat of the chair at the table, where it soaked for 6 hours.

After drying out under a fan overnight, it came on (!!!!). The keyboard just beeped though, and I finally found out that it thought the "control" key was being pressed. At some point the key became unstuck and let me log in and back up the hard drive to an external hard drive I have (!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

Within minutes, though, it became stuck again, and three days later it is still stuck. I reboot, try to log in, hit any key and it just beeps. If I hit C, it says "copying is not allowed into a password field" or something like that, so that's how I know that the control key is engaged. The rest of the keyboard seems to work.

Any ideas on unsticking this?

It's a 3-year old Compaq/HP that would be readily replaced (and upgraded) by the cheapest of all possible laptops out there today.

But still, it used to work fine and I'm cheap.