Finally a clear day in Glendale California. Walking out the main lobby doors of the Embassy Suites I turn right and walk to the corner. The hotel is at the North-east corner of North Central Avenue and Burchett Street. Diagonally across the street on the South-west corner is the First Southern Baptist Church, its white painted steeple piercing the sky above the brick and mortar building. North of the church on the Northwest corner is a restaurant called Shakers. Across the street from Shakers, diagonally, on the South-east corner, is my destination.
Survival Insurance Brokerage occupies the ground floor of the concrete and glass building. Trees surrounding the property obscure sightlines into the building. There are berms of earth and concrete strategically placed in front of entrances. The thick bullet-proof glass walls enclosing the ground floor offices are setback from the building’s edge and are partially protected from the late afternoon sun by thick concrete columns. A veritable fortress without trying to be, just off the Ventura Highway.
I update my insurance policy whenever in town. I’ve been with this agency since I started in the business and have referred several colleagues to these offices. Life insurance, for me, is pointless. Who would benefit? I have no kin and I’ve been an orphan since 1997. I increased my disability/dismemberment and catastrophic financial loss policies. My business complete, I exit the building wondering if the place that claims to have the best breakfast in town has a decent lunch selection.
As I walk out the Central Avenue doors, I’m pelted with small concrete chunks as a bullet ricochets off a nearby column. Quickly I take cover behind a nearby four-foot high concrete and earth berm. I search for the assailant; analysing the trajectory of the shot, I spot the shooter on top of the church’s bell tower, below the steeple of death. Another bullet careens off the edge of the berm, inches from my face. I sprint north to the next column, trying to get a leaf free view and identify the sniper.
The trees that have hindered the sniper and spared my life are a hindrance to me also. People in my profession do not just fire blindly in the direction of danger, it’s unprofessional. By the time I dare to expose myself enough to acquire the target, the shooter is gone. I guess this was a message from above; I didn’t add enough coverage to my policy.