Brain Injury Month: A pop culture recommendation and an original short story written by me

Since we’re all (globally) going through the same panic and shut down because of the quick spread of COVID-19, I thought I’d do my part (hopefully) to spread cheer (and not germs 😷 ) by sharing a silly short story I wrote. I also will share the pop culture that my parents and I are enjoying during these scary 😱 times.

I was watching a game show with my parents (“America Says” on Game Show Network) and a contestant’s answer inspired this comedic short story. The topic has nothing to do with viruses (thank goodness) or anything like that. It’s just meant to make you giggle.

And even though I’m veering off the path of my usual brain injury-inspired blog post, I do bring it in eventually.

First I will share the short story I just wrote. Later in this post, I will share some fun pop culture, a summary of Brain Injury Awareness Month, and my thoughts on COVID-19. I wrap the post up with a cute picture of my doggy, Selby.

Short Story: “Spy Training” by Laura Hagemann (me)
Image originally from Pixabay.

Being a spy wasn’t quite like Lance imagined. There were coworkers and other highly trained spies but they didn’t look like the sexy characters from James Bond. Instead, his supervisor and trainer was a middle-aged balding guy named Stan who was trying to lose weight so every conversation circled back to food. The food he could eat, couldn’t eat, used to eat or was dreaming of. Lance felt like there was so much food talk that he was gaining weight even though Stan was losing weight. And the other spy trainees were a lot like Lance: sweaty, unfit, nerdy guys with dreams of being the next James Bond.

There were stake-outs but so far they had been anything but glamorous. They were currently all crammed in a second-rate hotel on a stake-out that seemed to be lasting longer than anyone expected. Stan was using the stake-out to train the trainees on what to do and not to do on future stake-outs. So far they learned how to properly trail a suspect inconspicuously and how to wear disguises that blended in. Lance was dismayed to find out that a fake mustache was not encouraged.

The next lesson was how to properly place bugs or listening devices in a room. Lance and his friend and fellow trainee Jerry were tasked with bugging the suspect’s hotel room once the suspect left in the evening for food. While other trainees inconspicuously followed the suspect, in order to warn the team if he was headed back to the hotel, Lance and Jerry went about their business and placed bugs throughout the room. They worked together for a while placing the listening devices in the main area of the hotel room. Then Lance decided to bug the bathroom himself.

As Lance was looking around the bathroom for a place to put the last listening device he heard Stan’s gruff voice come over their earpieces. “The suspect is coming quickly back to the hotel. Jerry, Lance you two have to get out of there NOW!” Lance hurriedly hid the last listening device and ran to the hotel room door where Jerry was impatiently standing as he waited for Lance.

The two men rushed to the surveillance room where Stan was waiting for them as he nervously chewed on a protein bar. Stan sighed with relief at the sight of Jerry and Lance. He motioned for the two men to sit on empty folding chairs positioned by the computer. As Lance and Jerry settled into the uncomfortable folding chairs, Stan started to turn knobs and dials to turn on the hidden listening devices in the suspect’s hotel room.

The door opened and their fellow trainees who had been trailing the suspect rushed into the room. Stan motioned for them to sit next to Jerry and Lance as he held a finger in front of his lips indicating everyone must be quiet. They started to hear sound emitting from the listening devices as the suspect rushed into his hotel room and slammed the door.

The next series of sounds the spies were not ready to hear. They heard the suspect groaning and then walking quickly to the bathroom. Then they heard a series of noises that could only be attributed to the suspect having an uncomfortable bowel movement on the toilet. The spies groaned in horror as they realized what they were listening to.

As Stan struggled to swallow the remaining bite of his protein bar, he whisper-yelled at Jerry and Lance: “Which one of you geniuses put a listening device on the TOILET BOWL?” Lance sunk down in his chair as he raised his hand sheepishly. This is when Al (who had been trailing the suspect as he grabbed food) spoke up and quietly said with fear in his voice, “And the suspect ate at a bad Mexican restaurant.” Stan sighed as he shook his head with the realization that the next hour or so would be filled with them being forced to listen to disgusting sounds emitting from the poorly placed listening device.


🌮 😊

Pop Culture to make you smile 😁

Since this post is about making you smile, my pop culture recommendations are pretty light.

Thursday night TV on CBS: “Young Sheldon, ” “The Unicorn 🦄 , ” and “Mom.” We started off watching just “The Unicorn” but ended up adding several the other CBS Thursday night sitcoms. “The Unicorn” is about a new widower trying to raise his teenage daughters with the help of his friends. It has a silly title but it’s incredibly charming.

Netflix: “Restaurants On The Edge.” A professional chef, interior designer, and marketing guru travel the globe using their individual areas of expertise to help struggling restaurant owners with restaurants in beautiful locations. You don’t need to watch these sequentially so we have skipped around and watched different episodes. It helps us scratch the itch we have to travel!

HGTV: “Home Town, ” and “Extreme Home Makeover.” In the first HGTV show, I’m discussing, “Home Town, ” Erin and Ben Napier are a married couple in the small town of Laurel, Mississippi, who help their clients purchase, renovate and decorate a home. I love Erin’s style, I love their relationship and Ben is just an adorable teddy bear 🧸 of a man! “Extreme Home Makeover” was originally on ABC a few years ago. This is the reboot of it. So far I find it much improved.

Summary of Brain Injury Awareness Month

It’s a little odd for me personally that this global pandemic has hit (my country of the USA) especially hard during Brain Injury Awareness Month. I started off the month with a book review and went through my scheduled weekly posts as normal, however, this post is certainly a reflection of how “all over the place” this pandemic has me feeling. I couldn’t just do a pop culture post like I had planned and not act like the world was changed by this virus. So that’s why I relied on my creative writing skills to add a little levity. I still wanted to write about pop culture, but I decided to write about “feel good” pop culture.

However, I do recommend checking out my other brain injury-inspired posts from this month: A Book Review, Pop Culture Analysis, Essay, and Writing Update.

Creativity For Days Weekly Project

I would say this short story (in this post) counts as my creative project for the week. I have also been researching, writing and designing for an organization I volunteer with.

COVID-19 Thoughts

I thought I would write a little paragraph about the thoughts I have been having surrounding the current global pandemic.

I think the overwhelming feeling that I’m having through all this global pandemic is disbelief. I have read a lot about the virus and its spread so I definitely know and believe it’s happening. However, what is hard to wrap my head around is how truly GLOBAL this is. I have a friend who lives in Australia and I wrote to her that it is still somewhat shocking knowing that the EXACT SAME virus that is spreading rapidly in America is also affecting her country and the world at large. When things happen, it is usually something that happens on a smaller scale. It’s the global magnitude of this pandemic that is truly awful and shocking.

A @selbysweetie Conclusion

I just want to leave you with my favorite picture I have taken of Selby lately (to add some levity). I submitted it for a contest on the PupSocks website (a company that prints pictures of your dog or cat on socks). You can click here to vote for her (select Dog and scroll down until you see this picture of Selby).

Selby says: “Vote for me and we could win free TP 🧻” (that’s the contest prize!)

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