A Short Story - The Winds of Change

May 2, 2021

She woke up in a haze, her mind foggy from too many margaritas the night before.

"Oh, my head hurts, what time is it sweetheart?" Milly asked her boyfriend, Battleship. That what's everyone called him because he was a big man, not fat, but big overall. With the power that matched his size. His real name was Steven. He preferred Battleship.

"Battleship darling, what time is it? I can't move, my head hurts."

"So does mine," he turned his head slowly, opened his eyes and waited for them to focus. "I think it says 10:15 but I could be wrong."

"Good enough." She stayed right where she was - in a fog.

Eventually they did get up from bed and when they did they both wobbled a little, then sat down on the bed. Battleship looked out the window and saw that it appeared to be foggy outside as well.

"Hmm, how fitting," he said.

"What?" asked Milly.

"The air outside is as foggy as my head is inside. Or is it the other way around?"

"I think it's the other way around, sweetie."

They slowly stood and made their way out to the kitchen and got some coffee started.

After a couple cups of coffee Battleship and Milly were feeling better, and their heads were clearing up.

"Well, looks we'll have a nice day after all," she said as she stood over the sink looking out the window, sipping on her coffee.

"What do you mean?" asked Battleship.

"The fog is clearing outside, and the sun is starting to break through."

Battleship responded between drinks of coffee, "Just like my head, it's clearing up inside."

"Good, I wish mine would," Milly said after another drink of her coffee.

"You drank a bit too much last night."

"Well, I suppose another cup of coffee should do the trick," Milly said.

"I'm going to home center this morning to buy some stuff for the backyard, want to come with me?"

"No, I'm just going to stay here and do nothing until my head clears. I'm glad you're all back to normal."

"Well, almost. I will be soon," said Battleship.

He left to do some shopping at the home center store. At the store he found they were short a couple things he needed and he got into a heated argument with a store employee. At the same time the sky turned grey and it started raining. The changing weather made Battleship even angrier.

"You see what's happened, don't you?" he asked the store employee.

"What?" the employee asked.

"You've wasted so much of my time that now I won't be getting anything done because the weather turned bad." Battleship stared at the red vest the employee was wearing, and his name - Johnny. "Why'd you put Johnny on your vest, and not John? John is more manly than Johnny." Battleship towered over the kid and had him just about shaking in fear for his life, so the kid thought. Battleship may have been a big guy, but he was generally gentle as a bear, he just didn't like to show that side of himself. "You see, now I won't get my yard word done, and that's your fault. It has to be put off until next weekend, but I have plans for next weekend. So what should I do? Change my plans so I can do the work you have prevented me from doing?"

Johnny was frightened now and his hands were shaking. The department manager overheard the last bit of Battleships complaints and interrupted.

"Sir," the manager said looking up at Battleship, a full head taller than the manager. "Sir, please, he's just trying to do his job. He didn't intend to ruin your weekend or your plans for next weekend. We are simply out of stock of the items you are looking for. That's all there is to it."

There was a big clap of thunder and the rain was pouring down now.

Battleships mood was as dark as the weather outside. He handed the two things he had in his large hands to the manager, grunted at him, and left the store.

When he got home he stormed into the house out of the rain and Milly asked him, "What's going on? Why did you slam the door closed? What's wrong, darling?"

Battleship told her about the situation at the store and how it ruined his entire day, and probably his next weekend plans.

Milly said, "Sweetheart, please sit down and let me give you a shoulder rub." Battleship sat in his favorite recliner, Milly walked around behind it, and started massaging his shoulders and neck.

Slowly his mood mellowed out and he started to relax. Milly walked back around to the front of the recliner and reached for his hand. Battleship pulled her onto his lap and they kissed like a couple of teenagers.

Outside the clouds had cleared and the storm moved on to dump on the next town.

"Oh, look, darling, maybe you can do something outside after all," said Milly, and she stood up and opened the sliding door to the patio.

"Well, I suppose there's a little bit of work I can do without the stuff from the store."

"I'll fix you something for lunch." Milly kissed him again and just about pushed him out the door. For a big man, a giant compared to Milly, she could push him and pull him just about anywhere and anytime. Whenever he was with her he pretty much melted into her arms.

The next morning they both woke up in good moods and ready to start another week of work.

Battleship had a job to do at a new building site across town, and Milly had her bank job processing mortgages. The day started out with the sun shining, a light breeze, and the two of them feeling good. Of course, morning sex really does help set the tone for the day in a very positive way.

"So, what's the problem with this?" Battleship asked the two workers as he looked at the foundation that was being laid for a new home.

"I don't know, I don't see anything wrong with it," said one.

The other looked a little more intensely at the work they had done and suggested, "maybe it's not quite square in that corner," and he pointed to the corner in question.

"And how do you suppose that happened?" Asked Battleship, his mood was slowly changing because the two workers didn't come across as the most intelligent on the crew.

"Well, honestly, I think Jim didn't set the forms right," said the first looking at the other.

The blue skies were clouding up and that didn't help matters any.

"So, you're passing the blame onto Jim. Why didn't you double-check his work before you went on with your work?"

"I, um, well, he's been here much longer than me, and so I just figured he'd done it right," the first worker was becoming nervous.

Battleship's mood was turning sour and impatient with these two workers.

The second worker interjected, "Yeah, you know, Jim has a lot more experience than we do."

Battleship almost came unglued with that response. He looked up at the sky, took a deep breath, slowly released it, and said, "You two have been on this crew for how long now? Two years? Something like that, right?" There were a few raindrops starting to hit the men as they continued their conversation in the open on the foundation that was not right. Then he looked at the two men and just about yelled, "You have to double-check everything! Right? You know that! You have to make sure those forms are in the exact locations or you have this problem!" and he pointed at the corner of the foundation that would require some work to fix, as well as a delay with the rest of the work, and extra costs.

The rain was coming down steadily now. Battleship said, rather loudly, "Now it's your responsibility to fix your error! And if you don't fix it properly you'll not just be out of a job but I'll make sure every construction company from here to Timbukto knows about you two and the crap work you did for me!"

"What's up with this rain!" Battleship yelled at anyone and everyone. He stomped back to the forman's shack, poured a cup of coffee, sat down, and tried to calm himself down.

By the time he left for the day he had managed to calm down to a mild pissed-off mood and the rain had stopped. It was still cloudy and colder than normal, but at least it was dry. He walked by the area where the two workers were still hard at it trying to fix the foundation. He stared at them for a moment, then turned and left. They shuddered and continued working until it was too dark to see anything.

The next weekend came and he went to the home center store to buy the things he needed to do the work in the yard. This time they had everything he needed and that made his day even better. It would be a good day to work in the yard, the sun was shining and the temperature was warm enough for shorts and t-shirt.

Milly served lunch on the patio and Battleship was in a good mood. They had a great conversation about starting a family and expanding the house with a second floor.

At work the building site was progressing rapidly now that the foundation problem was corrected. Soon the town would have a new city hall, police, and fire station complex. Battleship was feeling good about the project. He had designed the project and was now the project manager. When this project is finished he will be known throughout the region and hopefully will receive more big jobs. That's his hope and dream.

Roger, one of Battleship's friends, said, "Hey, Arnie, have you ever noticed that the weather seems to match Battleship's mood?"

Arnie, another friend, replied, "What? What are you talking about? I think you've too many beers."

Battleship walked up to the table where he friends where talking about him, "Hey guys, are you talking about me again? What now? Is it about my size again?" He gave Roger a light hit to his shoulder, just about knocking Roger off his chair, "oops, sorry Roger, didn't mean to hit you that hard."

"No problem, man, like Arnie said, maybe I've too many beers."

"Already? Hell, it's just, what, 9?"

"No, it's after 10, dude, where've you been?" asked Arnie.

"With my wife doing what a husband and wife do."

"Oh, yeah, watching TV."

"Washing the dishes."

"Cleaning up after the kids."

"Sleeping."

"Ha ha, very funny. You guys need to spice up your lives. When's the last time either of you had sex with your wives?"

"Oh, hell, maybe a month ago."

"It's been awhile, so?"

"So? What's wrong with you guys? Go home, sneak up behind her, and start touching her, get her hot and horny. And do what your supposed to do with your wives - have sex with them."

"Wow, really? You do that? Yeah, I suppose you would, I mean, look at Milly. She's hot!"

"Yeah, wait till she's popped out a few kids. Things change, Battleship. It's never the same again."

"Ah, come on, it can't be all that bad. You both have pretty wives."

"Yeah, they're pretty, mine's pretty fat." They all laughed, drank some more beer and continued their bull session.

"What are you going to do when the new city complex is finished?" asked Arnie.

"I had a meeting with a couple today about designing a home for them. I think the work will be coming in regularly when people find out who designed that complex. It's going to be great for the business. I might even have to hire an employee or two. Now, that'd be great."

The other two men both nodded in agreement.

"Well, it's almost one, I'd better be getting home," said Roger.

"Yeah, me too."

"Yep, the ball and chain doesn't want you out too late, right?" asked Battleship.

"Just because Milly let's you stay out late doesn't mean my wife let's me get away with it. We can't all be so lucky."

Roger and Arnie both left Battleship at the table alone and went home to their wives. Battleship stayed a little longer and shot some pool with a couple other friends. These times away from home occasionally helped him clear his mind and relax, something Milly encouraged. And he let her go out and do the same with her friends. The results of these outings was always great sex and a successful relationship and happy marriage.

The day of the grand opening of the new city offices complex Battleship was in a great mood. Milly was next to him, the police comissioner, the fire chief, and the mayor. The sun was shining and the public that had gathered was enjoying free cookies and coffee.

After all the speaches were completed Battleship was mingling with the crowd and talking with a couple about a new home design, and another couple about a new building for their growing business. Things were looking good for new business contracts.

Then a man he'd never seen before walked up to Milly and started talking to her, touching her arm, then her hair. Battleship watched as the man seemed to be flirting with his wife and she seemed to be letting him do it. Then the man took her by the hand and they walked away. Battleship followed them and they went into the new city hall. He watched them go into one of the storage rooms which just happens to have no windows. The door closed.

Battleship walked up to the door, placed his hand on the doorknob, and paused. He leaned his ear against the door and listened, but he couldn't hear anything. Then he listened some more and though he heard sounds that Milly only made with him. Battleship started squeezed the doorknob and tried to turn it, but it was locked. The man had locked the door when he and Milly went into the room. Battleship listened and heard more moaning, it was obvious what was happening. He became furious and twisted the doorknob with all his strength. He turned it so hard it broke off in his hand. The noise caused the two inside the room to stop, momentarily. Then they continued their foray into sex. Battleship just about blew up when he heard them and he slammed his big body against the door. It was such a hard hit the door smashed open and against the wall behind it. He stood in the doorway and saw his wife against a shelf naked except her panties were dropping from her knees, the man was naked with his cock erect and press against her.

The moment they saw they froze in fear. Battleship stood there and stared at them for a minute. Milly suddenly pushed the man away and pulled her panties up, grabbed her bra and ran to Battleship. He turned around and walked down the hall and out of the building into a now heavy rain. Milly ran after him and she too was now in the pouring ran, wearing only her panties and fumbling to put on her bra. All the people had left when the rain had started. Battleship walked away and never looked back at Milly. The man walked up to her, put his arms around her and led her back into the building.

"You need to get dressed, Milly," he said.

"I don't care about that, my husband caught us! Do you understand? He caught us!" She was crying and just about screaming at the man, and dripping wet.

Milly grabbed her clothes and started walking out of the building and tried getting dressed at the same time. By the time she got outside in the pouring rain she had managed to get her pants on. As she hurriedly wrapped her shirt around herself she started to run after Battleship. He was long gone and out of sight. Milly ran all the way home, to a house with no husband in it.

She fell on their bed and cried all the rest of the day, eventually crying herself to sleep. Battleship still had not come home the rest of the day and all night. She had no idea where he might have gone.

In the morning the weather was still storming, lightning, thunder, heavy rain, it was a terrible day. Milly's phone rang, it was the man she was having an affair with, and she let it ring to voicemail. She didn't want to talk to him again.

"Why did I do that?" Milly thought, "Why? My god that was so stupid. Now I've ruined everything!"

She called a few of her friends but none had seen Battleship since the day before at the grand opening.

Battleship had gone to a motel outside of town. He was in such a terrible mood all night and into the next day. He just wanted to destroy something. He went for a drive and eventually found a place where he could try to take out his anger on something that wouldn't be a disaster - he grabbed the lug wrench from the trunk and started beating a tree. The rain hadn't let up all night or all day and he was soaked through to the skin, but he didn't care, he just kept beating that tree. Eventually he beat it so much it actually fell. That was when he finally stopped.

He slumped down on the wet muddy ground next to the fallen tree. The rain continued to pour down on him which just made his mood all the worse. After 15 or 20 minutes he got up, got in his car and drove to the bar. It was starting to get late and his friends were there, as usual.

When he walked in, soaking wet and muddy, everyone looked at him for too long, and he shot angry looks at everyone in the bar. They all turned away and continued their own conversations.

"Um, Battleship, what have you been doing?" one of the guys asked him.

"My god, bro, where've you been? You're covered in mud."

"Last night my wife got a call from Milly asking about you, where'd you go after the grand opening?"

Battleship sat and stared at his bottle of beer.

"Battleship? Are you okay? What happened?"

He slowly opened his mouth to say something but nothing came out. He took a long drink of beer, emptying the bottle as he did so. One of the guys ordered him another. He drank it in one long swig.

"Yesterday, I caught, shit!" Battleship yelled, and everybody in the bar suddenly turned and looked at him. He slammed another beer down, then slammed the empty bottle on the table. Outside a huge clap of thunder just about shook the building to it's foundation.

The guys waited for him.

"Yesterday, at the grand opening," he started, breathing heavily, "I caught Milly and some other dude," he drank more beer, "together." He finished yet another bottle of beer.

The other guys sat in silence taking in what he had just said.

"What? What do you mean? She was with some other guy? There were lots of other guys there."

"What did you see them doing? They had to be just talking."

Battleship interrupted them, "I caught her fucking another man!" He said it quietly but with so much anger it shocked the others within hearing distance. The storm outside intensified, the lightning and thunder were just about simultaneous now. And, just to add emphasis to the situation moment immediately after he said "man" a huge thunder clap and lightning bolt smashed the area and shook the building to it's very foundation.

Everyone in the bar stopped what they were doing and just froze in position because of that last thunder and lightning and the fury in Battleship's voice.

A woman at a table across the room said, "Oh my god! Did the storm just respond to that guy? That was so weird!"

Another person said, "Yeah, I've never seen, or heard, anything like that before."

Everyone in the bar was staring at Battleship. He looked around and noticed that he was now the center of attention.

"Sorry, folks, I've had a terrible day," he said. He ordered another beer and tried to relax.

"Dude, that was crazy! How'd you time that so well?" asked one of his friends.

"I didn't time anything. It just happened at the right time, I guess," said Battleship.

"Wow, okay, let's try to bring this down a notch or two, okay?" asked another one of his friends.

They all sat back in their chairs, took long drinks of their beers, took deep breaths, and relaxed.

Battleship started, "Well, what should I do? Any suggestions?"

By now the crowd in the bar had resumed their normal positions for drinking, talking, and shooting pool. Outside the storm was slowly diminishing, the thunder was in the distance, the rain was little more than sprinkling.

The next day Battleship was at his office when he received a call from a potential client. They met for lunch and arranged to work together on a custom home. That was followed by two more new clients looking to build new homes as well.

Within the next few months Battleship had expanded his office with two new employees and had more than enough work to keep him busy for some time to come.

Milly had tried to talk to him but he was having nothing to do with her. She cheated on him and she would have to deal with the respurcussions of doing that - divorce. Battleship made sure she would get nothing from him in the divorce settlement.

For her part, Milly and the man she had the affair with never became a couple, and she went on living alone, regretting what she did and how she destroyed her wonderful marriage.

Battleship went on without her and was happy with how his life had turned out. And as he walked through life the weather seemed to follow right alongside him. Other people seemed to wonder about it, but he never did.