What's so striking about Danny's story is not only that he stared death in the face for 90 minutes, a time that must have seemed like days. (A brilliant and accomplished former Northeastern student, Danny calculated his odds of survival as being less than the odds of it all ending there.) It's that his brief time with the terrorists will go down as the essential record of their strange and schizophrenic mood in between killings. They talked going to New York to set off bombs in Times Square. But they also talked about the future of the music CD.
The story of that night unfolds like a Tarantino movie, bursts of harrowing action laced with dark humor and dialogue absurd for its ordinariness, reminders of just how young the men in the car were. Girls, credit limits for students, the marvels of the Mercedes-Benz ML 350 and the iPhone 5, whether anyone still listens to CDs — all were discussed by the two 26-year-olds and the 19-year-old driving around on a Thursday night.
Tamerlan asked him to turn on and demonstrate the radio. The older brother then quickly flipped through stations, seemingly avoiding the news. He asked if Danny had any CDs. No, he replied, he listens to music on his phone.
Of course, his escape was the stuff of movies. (That announcement of a Ben Affleck adaptation has to be coming any day now.)
“I was thinking I must do two things: unfasten my seat belt and open the door and jump out as quick as I can. If I didn’t make it, he would kill me right out, he would kill me right away,” Danny said. “I just did it. I did it very fast, using my left hand and right hand simultaneously to open the door, unfasten my seat belt, jump out . . . and go.” Danny sprinted between the passenger side of the Mercedes and the pumps and darted into the street, not looking back, drawn to the Mobil station’s lights. “I didn’t know if it was open or not,” he said. “In that moment, I prayed.”
If you make it all the way to the story's end, you're in for a treat. I won't ruin it, except to say: Take a note from Danny's example. Life is too short to not go after what you want.