This was a ten-minute writing exercise I did today.
That's what we called him, Basche. I'd moved to this school mid-semester and everyone already knew everyone else. I knew no one. On the playground I watched as Danny Kuiper tossed the football and then shouted, "Here, Basche! Here, Basche!" Inside, when the teacher asked if there was anyone in particular I wanted to have sit at my table, I said, "Basche." It may have been then that I found out his first name was David, but it may have been much later.
Danny Kuiper, who also sat at my table, was fast and wiry, with tight curls covering his head. Basche was tall, laconic and grounded. And someone we gravitated toward.
Basche cared about trucks and taught me to prefer Peterbilts to Macks. And when I visited his house I got to ride on the back of his minibike, tearing through the lot next door, playing Starsky and Hutch in pursuit of bad guys. Somehow, even though I had dark, Starsky-like hair and Basche a more blonde Hutch look, I had to be Hutch, because everyone knew Starsky was cooler. Just like when, years earlier, Danny Underwood and I played Emergency, and Danny had light hair, like Roy, and I had dark hair, like Johnny, but I still had to be Roy, because everyone knew Johnny was cooler.
As to the other Danny, Danny Kuiper, he remained more distant, another of Basche's sidekicks. Long after I'd moved away and lost contact with everyone at that school, I read in the paper that Danny had died, struck by lightning while working with his father on the roof of his house. I can still hear him shouting, trying to get Basche to throw him the football.
Image from www.scwiklr.com/junk/