University administrators seldom have trouble getting what they want. But when it was time for him to go, John Fecalton, executive vice president for the Department of Plumbing and Paper, ran out of wipe.
Yelling at the top of his lungs Tuesday from the middle stall in Morrill Hall’s three-stall bathroom, Fecalton said he tried not to panic.
“The paper was all gone,” Fecalton said. “I could have been in there for hours.”
But shortly after Fecalton’s dilemma began, janitor Bud Wipe entered the scene.
“I could hear the screams from my closet,” Wipe said. “I had to slap him once just to settle him down.”
Wipe said he searched the other stalls for paper, but mysteriously every roll had been stripped to the cardboard. Right then, he said he knew he had to quit living a lie.
Wipe linked a top University official to a high class toilet paper ring in the south seas, where paper is in high demand because the natives quit using their hands. He said the suspect has been stockpiling the paper in a private bathroom in an office on the third-floor.
Wipe said for months he ignored the missing TP and chalked the vanishing roles up to student theft. But after entering the private toilet to grab some for Fecalton, he said he could tell something was going on.
“I’ve seen it,” Wipe said. “Paper stacked to the ceiling.”
But Wipe has been known to tell tall tales, one time claiming to be personal friends with Eric Estrada, former “CHiPs” star. He had actually only met Estrada when typing on an Internet chat group.
Administrators have also shot holes in Wipe’s theory.
“He’s a crappy janitor,” said Vic Shasta, associate dean for the Department of Watered-Down Soda. “He probably forgot to order more toilet paper.”
But The Minnesota Daily has learned some administrators may be using the private stall and could be covering up for whomever has been stealing the paper.
Wipe said the suspect “keeps a grill in there to cook pancakes and everything.”
University Police are looking into the incident, and with the anticipated arrival of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, they are worried the paper craze may spread to other buildings.
“What kind of message is that sending to a national figure?” University Police Sgt. Buck Pepper asked.
But some officials speculate the shortage may prompt the federal government to extend toilet paper aid to the University, something that hasn’t been done since the TP shortage of 1932.
Students were shocked to hear of the incident.
“I won’t even read a book in the bathroom,” speech-communications senior Joe Lonsky said. “I can’t imagine eating in there.”