There’s a popular drug den in Manhattan called the Temple of High that was founded in the 1980’s by Rupert Monahan. Weed, pills, and women are available for you to enjoy there, if you have the coin. Men from all walks of life visited the temple for their fix: politicians, janitors, Protestant preachers, and more. The archdiocese has given me the task of investigating this social poison. As a private investigator, I spend many days following around cheating spouses and loan sharks’ clients. It’s a very boring career that pays very well. But I think I’ll be enjoying my job for once.

I’ll get to smoke and play with the nice girls on staff. My job is to find out who’s funding Rupert’s operation, but they didn’t say I couldn’t enjoy myself while I was there. The archdiocese has been kind enough to provide me with an apartment that’s five minutes away from the famous drug den. There’s a TV, paintings, and a fully stocked fridge in this cheap place. You can’t make a cow attractive by adding lipstick, but I’ll give them credit for trying.

They’ve given me hot dogs, steak, wine, cola, and so on. Wow; this place is nicer than I thought. The paintings feature beautiful women, battles, and forests. I’m actually surprised that I haven’t seen a Bible or any religious iconography in my new place. But there is a note from them sitting next to the TV.

“The Archdiocese of New York appreciates your willingness to discover the scoundrel behind the sinful drug den in our great city. Please enjoy this good faith gift of five thousand dollars that can be found in a red box in your closet.” The note was signed by Archbishop Vincent Morisini. I rushed to the closet immediately, and there it was: five thousand dollars without even getting started. I’m going to get so high while I track down who’s behind this drug scene!

It’s getting late and there’s a noise coming from the alleyway. It sounds like a prostitute negotiating with a dirty john about doing something,she’s not into. “Come on sweetheart, it’s not as bad as it sounds!” the john shouted foolishly, assuming that no one could hear them. “Mayor McCuomo, I will not dress up like a clown and put the tail on the donkey, so to speak,” said the prostitute, who was showing an impressive amount of restraint with this pervert. After a few more minutes of arguing, he must’ve convinced her, because all I heard was “I want a new fur coat and cash this time, Mister Mayor.”

I should write this down; I’m sure the Catholic church will want to use that against him in the upcoming election. Mayor McCuomo has been targeting the Church’s finances for a while. The air smelled like cheap perfume and oil, almost enough to kill my appetite. I decided to cook some hot dogs before the MMA fight came on. A dwarf would be fighting a pro wrestler for the openweight title tonight.

As I sat down to eat my hot dogs, I looked at the television and saw the dwarf coming out in a Roman legionnaire’s outfit. The promoter really wanted to get the circus and wrestling audiences, I guess. The pro wrestler is actually coming out in normal gear; I’m impressed. My money’s on the dwarf, though: he looks like he spends most of his time getting into bar fights.

The first round was pretty tame; both fighters performed well. The pro wrestler is doing pretty well now, but I felt like that piledriver should have been illegal. The referee is starting the count and the pro wrestler is gloating. I’m going to get more hot dogs because this looks like it’s over. “The pint-sized fury is coming back from the dead! I think he’s going to break some ribs tonight!” the commentator shouted. Shit, I guess there’s going to be more.

The dwarf finished him off with an elbow to the jaw; looks like I’ll be getting five hundred dollars in the mail. I should sleep now since I need to be up by 8AM for a meeting with an employee at the drug den. Hours passed by as I slept comfortably in my bed and my alarm went off at 6AM. I got dressed, ate breakfast, and left for the meeting. The employee was supposed to meet me at a diner around the block, and I was told to look for a red coat. That’s pretty vague; I hope the employee was given a better description of me. As I headed to the diner, I was getting chased down by prostitutes and yelled at by petty drug dealers. The scent of perfume and a new drug called “Kratoweed” was inescapable. Kratoweed is pot laced with kratom and there were two variants at the moment: J-Crow and Roastie. J-Crow is popular with trust fund kids and working-class people. Roastie is for party girls, of course.

I arrived at the diner to see a woman wearing a red trench coat. That’s interesting; I was expecting a bouncer or something. I wasn’t expecting one of the girls to be my informant for this case. I wonder what she does at the temple? Dancer? Scantily-clad waitress? Escort? Judging by the way she carried herself, I didn’t think she was a waitress. Her clothes were too nice as well. “You must be the Temple High employee I’m supposed to meet,” I said quietly to her as she got closer to me. She had red hair and green eyes; very nice.

“Yes, I’m a dancer there. My driver will take us around town while we discuss this,” she said as she pointed to her car. We left the diner and she handed me a small bag of kratoweed. “This is the product that made us rich. Politicians, church leaders, and celebrities love it: Catholic, Protestant, New Age, and so on. We have dirt on everyone who matters: the mayor, bankers, and some people you know,” she said as we passed a Catholic community center. “Who?” I said as I sniffed the kratoweed bud. She laughed before saying, “You should be careful with that and what questions you ask. Someone you know may have spies following you.”

She didn’t seem too interested in giving me concrete answers, but she was interested in fooling around. I definitely wasn’t opposed to the idea, so we fucked in the backseat while the driver tried to keep his eyes on the road. In the brief moments when I wasn’t focused on fucking her brains out, I could occasionally hear praise or someone calling me a “pervert.” Either way, I had my fun in that car. I cleaned myself up a bit before she dropped me off at the diner. “That was fun. My name is Stacy. You can ask for me at the Temple High or you can call this number,” she said with a very satisfied look on her face.

I thanked her for showing me a good time before I made my way home. She was very cryptic, but I have a feeling that someone in the Catholic church might be funding this. She mentioned church leaders with near-perfect timing as we passed that Catholic community center. I’ll have to go to the Temple of High tomorrow night because she wore me out. I’m not entirely sure about the amount of time I spent in that car with Stacy.

I’m going to cook some steak and watch pro wrestling, I suppose. When I got upstairs, there was a package in front of my apartment door. “Open Me” was written on the side of the box; it felt heavy. More money and other nice gifts from the Archdiocese? Could it be something from Stacy? I went inside and locked the door. I got the steak started and turned on the TV. Wrestling doesn’t come on for another thirty minutes, so let’s see what’s inside. A note was sitting on top of the packing peanuts; I really hate packing peanuts. “I’m sure that I left you puzzled when we met. I don’t trust my driver enough to be completely honest in front of him. The person funding it is definitely involved with the archdiocese; I don’t know his name. I have seen him at the Temple High a few times, and he usually watches me dance while he smokes J-Crow with his secret wife, a nun named Joanna; she’s brought us cookies before. Joanna seems mostly innocent. The two of them usually show up at eleven o’clock.” It was signed “Stacy.”

I found a Temple High VIP card, a nice coat, a bottle of rum, and eight thousand dollars in the box. I’m probably going to retire after this case; I have more than enough money now. My steak is done, and I can hear the intro music starting in the background. As I sit down, the interviewer is talking to the Superstar Rusty Wyatt. “I am the man with the power, the man of the hour! The Lucha Freak and the Alabama Dream won’t be leaving with my galactic heavyweight title! They’ll leave with broken bones, and broken dreams!” bellowed Rusty Wyatt.

The first two matches of the night were decent, the typical midcard stuff. The main event is coming up, and I need more food. That steak was wonderful; I need to find out who supplies the Church with this meat. I still have leftover hot dogs that I couldn’t finish before. When I came back, the three wrestlers were in the ring. The bell has been rung, and Rusty immediately goes for the Lucha Freak, hitting him with a spear. The Alabama Dream tries to hit him with a super kick and misses. Rusty finishes the match quickly by choke-slamming the Alabama Dream onto the unprotected pavement. Rusty wins because both of his opponents can no longer continue.

That was pretty good; I’m going to go to sleep until it’s time to head to the Temple High. I’ll take some melatonin pills with my cola; that should do it. Several hours passed by, and it was finally time to head to the Temple High. As I walked outside, I saw limos all over the place. Every politician and wealthy person in Manhattan must be here tonight. As I got closer, I noticed that some of the cars were marked with Catholic symbols, and others had government plates. Stacy should be dancing in the VIP area; I’ll see if she’s right about him being there.

The bouncer at the Temple High is an ex-mercenary that spent time in Somalia, Burma, and El Salvador. Because of his reputation, there has never been a major issue security-wise, but he is known for stealing alcohol. I think he’s the only one that thinks no one is aware of his various thefts. I walked directly to him and took out the card. “Go on in, but you really should use the VIP entrance next time, sir,” said the bouncer. I nodded and went right in.

The interior was decorated to look like an ancient Greek temple that had been renovated by a psychedelic garage band. It’s not bad, and the smell of drugs isn’t too overwhelming. As I headed up to the VIP lounge, I noticed more poorly-disguised clergymen making out with young nuns and call girls. Most of them forgot to leave their white collars and crosses at the Church. “Welcome,” said the VIP bouncer as he opened the door. Stacy and a few other girls were performing on stage for the priests and politicians. One of the priests yelled, “Come here, private detective!” I stood very still as I counted the guards. “Relax, kid, I want to make you a deal!” said the priest.

I walked over and sat next to the unconscious nun next to him. He seemed very pleased with himself as he smoked a little more. “You see that dancer up there? Her name is Stacy. She was a virgin until she met you, by the way. Stacy was a nun before I convinced her to work here,” said the priest. I was visibly shocked. “Why are you telling me this?” I said as I poured some of the wine on the table into my glass. “I needed an offering that was more appealing. I’ve been throwing a lot of money at you, but you do have some sense of justice. So, what would be the one thing that would override that moral compass of yours?” said the priest. “A young woman,” I said, mildly embarrassed to admit that I could be bought. “Exactly: a young woman that’s never been defiled by another man. She’s a good dancer, and she gives off the impression that she’s experienced in bed, but she’s not. That a testament to the skills of the girls who taught her what she knows. What I want you to do is take this envelope and the note about Mayor McCuomo purchasing the services of a prostitute to the archbishop. In exchange, you can have Stacy as well as ten million dollars that will be deposited in your bank account. I’m Father Crowley, and do we have a deal?” said the corrupt priest. The thought of framing someone felt very wrong, but ten million dollars and a young woman sounded amazing. I could move to the countryside with her and never have to worry about anything again. “You’ve got a deal, but I have to ask you something, Father Crowley. Why did you get involved in all of this?” I said as I took the envelope from him. “I got bored and Rupert needed someone that was good with numbers. It also helped that I have connections to the mafia and certain occult circles that are very wealthy.” said the Father with a shit-eating grin. He told one of his guards to bring Stacy over to us. “Hi, I was wondering when I’d see you here! Does this mean I won’t be working at this stupid place anymore? What’s your name?” said Stacy as she grabbed my arm. “People call me Mister Kraine, and yes, I took the deal. You belong to me now, and we’ll be moving to the countryside after I take care of this case,” I said as we left together.

After we got back to my apartment, we ate steak and spent some time in bed. When I got up the next morning, I could smell breakfast. Stacy made eggs and bacon for the two of us. While we were eating, she asked me if I knew why he wanted to take the mayor down. I did, but I didn’t feel like discussing it. So I told her that she’d find out after we moved to the countryside. We went to meet with the archbishop and he was shocked to find out that it was Mayor McCuomo running the drug den, according to the fake evidence at least.

When the cops went to pick the mayor up, they found him in a donkey costume getting ridden and spanked by a clown hooker. According to the news, he was claiming that he was framed, but the reporter was more interested in his strange fetish. It’s definitely worth further investigation, but that’s one rabbit hole that isn’t worth going down. Stacy and I are on our way to the countryside, to a property that my grandfather left to me in his will. I haven’t been there in a while; I hope there isn’t a huge wasp nest in the barn again. Getting that out the first time wasn’t fun.

When we got settled in at our new home, I told her that it was a power struggle between the mayor and the Church. Even though Father Crowley is a heretic and a sinner, the Catholic Church benefits from his actions in Manhattan. We spent the rest of the day making plans to put a pool and a small zoo on the property. It’d be a fun source of income and a calmer way of life for me after spending ten years doing this crap. I can retire at thirty-five; that’s pretty sweet.