Robert "Bobby Black" Shaw

San Francisco, d. 1991, murdered by stabbing

Bobby Black was a messenger and musician ­ who wrote "She's A Rogue," which John Silvers and John Thaxton still perform to this day in honor or him. They also recorded the song on the 1996 CMWC "Pothole" Compilation. Bobby was stabbed to death and the case was never solved, but it is widely speculated that a certain ex-courier was the killer.

I knew Bobby Black for ten years. I never saw him down. He had a superhuman sense of optimism. There are only a few like him on this planet.

When I was brand new in S.F. Bobby and I worked at 480 5th St. One afternoon Little Joe gave me a filing. It was a pick-up at Richard Kalish Ste 4135, 555 California, going to Room 317, City Hall: File by 4:30.

I picked up the package at 4:05 and Joe said, "Clean it up."

But like the over-eager rookie I was, I got my bike crushed between two busses at Sutter and Kearny. What was I gonna do? Here I was with this important run from a major legal tenant of the biggest building in town, and I didn't have a bike to ride to the destination. There was no way I could walk it in time.

Just then Bobby rode by. I ran in front of him.

"Take this package to Room 317 at City Hall," I said.

It was 4:20. Bobby didn't make it. The filing failed to be properly filed and the lawyer's case was seemingly lost. But it turned out if Bobby and I came in to the lawyer's office and signed affidavits detailing the accident and subsequent hand-off, then maybe the lawyer could get his client off the hook.

I was scared shitless. Imagine a 19-year-old twerp called in to the 41st floor office of a big city corporate lawyer. But Bobby was laughing the whole way.

"How can you laugh?" I asked.

"'Cause it ain't nothing but a big joke," said Bobby.

Well hey Bobby, I hope you're headlining that comedy club in the sky, tonight and forever, cause when I get there, if you are, I'll know I lived life right.

- A Friend

Bobby Black's Wake

by Parté King

Bobby Black's South Park Wake was going along fine, a little drinking, a lot of stories and more tears than we ever seen at a messenger gathering. Frankly, I never met Bobby, and yet now I feel as if I knew him or maybe he knew me.

Nosmo, Silvers, and Stephan put out a nice jam in his honor. As the group of 20 or so folk fell into respectful silence. After the musical tribute, people took turns paying their respects with impromptu speeches. You really missed out if you weren't there. Emotion level was at a peak.

Around 3:00... 3:15, the rollers showed up and promptly busted the wake. Officer #2081 handled it rather smoothly despite a bit of griping on our part. Reluctantly we poured our beers out to cries of: "This is for Bobby!"

A couple of folk ended up in the paddy wagon but 2081 subtly left the back door unlocked and our comrades escaped down Tager. With a bit of pleading we scored the Zo bag that had found its way into the front seat of the van and set off for Mission Rock and what we hoped would be a hassle free continuation of our ceremony.

Couldn't help but wonder if the cops realized we were getting a bit more organized and cracking down. Maybe it was the South Park neighborhood organization who ratted on us, either way it was a rather heartless episode on the part of the SFPD.

...2081 was seen at hangouts on Monday & Tuesday the following week hassling any messenger he could. He must have been scolded or teased by a superior to feel he had to follow up on such a lame bust.

Rumor has it an ex-messenger is the guilty party (who ratted). Let's hope it's false.

Harmony my friend,
You, me and Duck

I was looking forward to getting it again. But I guess I missed the boat... Again! Shit! You deserved better than that. Everybody is missing those harmonies. And I am missing you. See you there.

- Prez