Abby leaned against the wooden frame of her stall looking out over the former-airstrip-turned-open-air-market, thumbing through a substantial stack of IOUs and enjoying a warm breeze. She contemplated what she would do with the heap of empty promises when Trailvyne came to collect the rent for her place on the runway. As two brawny gentlemen approached her kiosk, her train of thought was interrupted and she moved into position to receive the men’s’ questions and, hopefully, their business.

“Are you Abby?” inquired one of the men who was squatter than his compatriot and had auburn hair and a partially visible tattoo on his wrist. Abby hesitated for a moment, knowing that customers don’t usually use that tone.
“Who’s asking?” Abby responded anxiously. The other man, who was red-headed and had a slightly darker handlebar mustache, drew several papers folded in thirds from a pocket on the inside of his modest tan jacket. He thrust them toward Abby.

By this point, Abby had some idea of what this was all about. To humor her guests, she unfolded the top third of the papers to confirm her suspicions. These men were Trailvyne men.

“Mr. Trailvyne is waiting for payment,” the shorter man began, “he is beginning to regret his decision to allow you to occupy this stall.”

Abby, who had become used to this kind of routine annoyance from Trailvyne, rolled her eyes and crossed her arms as if to suggest that these men were lucky to be allowed to continue with their well-rehearsed diatribe about how “Mr. Trailvyne understands that things are hard right now but…” or how “Mr. Trailvyne just wants what’s best for all of us…” or how “Mr. Trailvyne is doing everything in his power to protect the vendors because he thinks of them as family.”
Once the men had finished unenthusiastically going through the motions of warning Abby about the perils of not paying rent, Abby waved her hand dismissively to shoo them away. Trailvyne’s merchants were neither amused nor surprised.

“Miss, what do you think you’re doing,” retorted the taller Trailvyne agent, “Mr. Trailvyne takes the repayment of debts very seriously.”

Abby was slightly flustered that Trailvyne’s men broke from their usual routine. She never suspected that they had the wits or pluck to challenge her. “If ol’ Bobby Trailvyne takes debt so seriously, why won’t he collect all this money that’s owed to me?”

The brunette sighed heavily, “As you well know Miss, Mr. Trailvyne is not concerned with the financial matters of vendors who are not associated with his company.” He turned to leave, gesturing to his compatriot to do the same, when Abby put one hand on each of their shoulders.

"What would it take?" She asked.

"What would it take to what?" The brunette responded, barely holding back a smirk.

"What would it take to buy my position here, without joining Trailvyne, for ever."

"Mr. Trailvyne does not take kindly to such propositions, so I would imagine quite a lot. In fact, in order to even raise the question to the big boss, I'm going to ask that you pay me and my partner a fee."

"Are you asking me to bribe you?" She lowered her voice and stepped to the men so that she was within inches of them. She would not be extorted by the likes of these two.

"Cost of doing business these days, ma'am." The Trailvyne men had particularly irritating matching smirks on their faces.

Unable to contain her anger, Abby shoved the red head who awkwardly stumbled back over his own feet and into the tarmac. "Get out of my sight, you ignorant assholes," she pronounced as she took another step forward so that she was hovering over him. Seeing his partner humiliated in front of a growing crowd, the brunette came closer with his fists on display. Abby grabbed a piece of scrap metal.

"Are you sure you want to do that?" Abby chuckled as she brandished the steel bar.

"I should ask you the same question," the brown-haired Trailvyner retorted, "it seems you're outnumbered."

"I've beaten better men than you two," Abby grunted as she swung her impromptu weapon in as wide an arc as her frame would allow. The brunette parried with a machete and the two locked eyes for a few moments which seemed significantly longer than that. Out of the corner of her eye, Abby could see the red head reaching for a pistol. As he did, the brunette used his free hand to swiftly gesture for his partner to put the gun away.

"It seems you remember how I got this stand in the first place," Abby grinned, knowing that she had won.

"We'll be back. There will be more of us. You have been warned," the brunette declared as he disengaged with Abby and tried to brush off her comment.

The red head got back on his feet, weapon fully holstered, and the two Trailvyne men pushed through the crowd which had flocked toward the commotion. The members of the crowd craned their necks to see what could be disturbing the peace on such a temperate day. Among the crowds were a few of the marketplace guards, knowing they could not really intervene as long as Trailvyne's men where there. As the merchants left, so too did the rubbernecking peasants. The guards approached the merchants as they marched away and asked for a report. The merchants grunted and signaled something to the effect that it was all being taken care of. The guards then wandered off, seemingly disappointed that they did not get to do their duly appointed duties.