I am here to tell you a story. A story about a man. A man with a dream. A dream he purchased for 6,000 dollars from the bankrupt company of the guy who first had that dream. In 2019, John Fenley bought the rights and catalog of Murphie, a defunct media company with a business plan that couldn’t possibly fail other than that time it had already failed. Remember CDs? Those things you used to listen to before you could stream literally any song in the entire world for 8 dollars a month? Well, what if you wanted to stream your private CD collection at any time? What’s that you say? There are already approximately a dozen easy ways to do this? Well, what if you sent your physical CDs to a warehouse, the warehouse uploaded the CDs to a cloud server, kept your CDs, and you had to pay a monthly fee both per CD stored and times you listened to that same CD on their streaming service? Someone call the Secret Service because John is printing money over here.
Pictured: John Fenley shortly before embarking on a series of the worst decisions ever made by a person living or dead.
Now, John Fenley is a dreamer, but he is not naive. He knows that you have to hedge your investments. While the entire “mailing your CD collection to a dude who will charge you to listen to them online” business model is a sure bet, you always gotta have a side hustle. Which is why John has a backup plan: building a prototype fusion reactor by himself.
He does not have a degree in physics.
That seems like a recipe for comic book disaster, because it literally is one. We’re one errant possum away from an amateur nuclear reactor melting down atop a pile of Deep Blue Something CDs, which is the only way future generations would remember Deep Blue Something.
When Fenley started searching for a place to house his many pending disasters, he had one qualification in mind: Location, location, location. Specifically, the cheapest one possible. There were no other criteria. He actually typed in “warehouse” on a real estate website and clicked sort by price. What he wound up with was a 17 acre property for 375,000 dollars in a small town called Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Wow, all that space, and for so little! How could he say no?
Say, why was that warehouse so cheap again?
Undeterred by silly things like a statistically impossible level of crime, Fenley bought the property at ⅔ the cost and shipped his 800,000 CDs and 35,000 pound magnet to what would become his new home. Oh yeah, he was also going to live there. This will become hilariously important later.
Fenley hopped on the internet and proudly shared the location of his new warehouse, that he would be the only one there, and he’d be storing valuable media and electronics on site. The extremely thinkable happened.
It turns out this quaint little community with the crime stats of a Grand Theft Auto rampage was not actually the safest place to store physical media, electronics, any kind of metal, or John Fenleys. Nearly every day for months Fenley posted twitter videos of the many times he got robbed by a rotating cast of tweakers.
They left the wheels and stole the fucking engine. That’s the kind of next-level property theft game Pine Bluff, Arkansas was bringing. But John wasn’t deterred. No path to fortune is without its little hurdles. He knew just what to do: First, he’d buy state of the art security for his storage containers and inst-
They stole that.
He doubled down. The problem here was there’s no security system watching his other security system, so he’d just-
They stole that.
Okay, but that’s a fluke. If he bought a replacement there’s no way anybody w-
They stole it again.
You know what the ultimate security system is? John Motherfucking Fenley. He started sleeping in a tent in the warehouse so he could catch the criminals in the act.
They stole the tent.
He’d had enough. Fenley began open-carrying a weapon at all times and holding any would-be thieves at gunpoint.
So now that word got around John Fenley was an armed maniac on high alert for robbers, there was only one thing the tweakers could do.
Did you think this sentence was going to say “steal his guns?”
That would’ve been funny.
But silly. That’s one step too far, into cartoonish hijinx. Instead the tweakers just snuck in wearing ghillie suits.
And so begins the game of cat and mouse. Nearly invisible tweakers operating with military precision against John Fenley, the Batman of used CD storage.
Here’s Batman ripping his crotch on a fire hydrant.
He posted that! Nobody made him!
Fenley, having lost his tent to the Tweaker Wars, started sleeping in the back of his truck with a flashlight and a firearm. This was it. He was basically one with the night. A thief would have to be literally invisible to get past him, like some kind of tweaker Predator.
There’s… there’s not even an explanation posted for this one. The meth heads spontaneously developed cloaking technology. This is a cold war in time lapse. It’s like watching evolution happen. There is no defense an amateur nuclear streaming failure can develop that his natural predator, the Arkansas copper thief, will not counter.
As shameful as it is to admit defeat, a businessman has to know when to cut a bad investment loose. That’s why John Fenley went ahead and bought an additional 75 properties in the town of Pine Bluff, becoming the largest single landowner in the county. Let’s see them rob him now, when he owns everything! There’s maybe a flaw in that logic, but I can’t spot it.
At the same time, Fenley was also in a bureaucratic standoff with Pine Bluff. You know who doesn’t love it when you announce you’re going to build an untested fusion reactor within city limits? The city. John shifted strategies, planning to use the area as a science museum for kids instead of Black Mesa.
At this point, Fenley estimates he lost approximately 50,000 dollars in equipment alone. He was now hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, living in the Wonkaland of Larceny. But, according to him, it was all going to plan.
Time for a brand new business venture: The town of Pine Bluff was planning to spend 3.5 million dollars to build a community Go-Kart track. Fenley, sensing an opportunity, tried to undercut the deal by buying 30 Go-Karts and applying for a license to turn his property into the first community track instead!
The license was denied. Son of a bitch, it’s like the city somehow knows about city affairs!
Fenley, in yet another classic Fenleyism, announced to the internet that he was keeping 30 fueled and ready Go-Karts in his boundless cornucopia of plunderable scrap.
There’s actually no way to guess what happened next.
John Fenley remained unbroken. He realized he can’t even blame the thieves for his situation, they’re only products of the society that made them. John understands that, in fact, he’s got a brilliant idea to fix poverty entirely!
This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: John Hector McFarland, a proud member of an alien race that comes to Earth once every generation to hunt copper wire.