A Letter To Herbert Mullin


Dear Mr. Mullin,

First off, I would like to assure you that I am not a longhair. I know how deeply your disdain for hippies runs, and I wouldn’t want you thinking that you were receiving mail from some peacenik Berkeley graduate or something. I just wanted to get that out of the way. I’m sure you understand, Herbert. Actually, may I call you Herb? I know it’s a slang term for marijuana, which you understandably despise, but it’s just got such a nice ring to it, don’t you think? I will call you Herb for now.

Well Herb, the reason I am writing is because I am fascinated by your story.  Admittedly, I was not familiar with you until recently, but when I read about you it interested me on many levels. I’ve been to Santa Cruz. It’s a nice place, although there might be a few too many longhairs for my tastes (and probably yours as well). I don’t want to bring up anything you may be uncomfortable with or go into details that you’re already well aware of, but it strikes me as an unlikely place for the kind of things that were going on there in the early 1970s. I find it curious that Edmund Kemper has been the subject of so many documentaries while I can not find one on you. I have read that you do not like interviews and are a bit quiet; is this part of the reason for the lack of documentaries focusing on you? Because I gotta be honest here, Herb: I find your story every bit as interesting (and perhaps more) as big Ed’s.

Speaking of big Ed, I read that you two were in adjacent cells at one point and that you did not get along. I read that Ed would even throw popcorn at you. That’s not a very nice thing to do, unless you’re at the circus or something, and jai ain’t no circus. I read that he would get upset because he would be trying to watch television and you would sing. Would you sing “The Die Song?” What pitch is your voice? I imagine you as a soprano for some reason. And what did big Ed like to watch? “All My Children?” Did you two ever watch “The Odd Couple” together? Because that’s a really killer show, Herb.

You know, you and I have a few things in common, Herb. I read that you have some interesting tattoos; I myself have some interesting tattoos. Have you gotten any tattoos since being incarcerated? I like your “LEGALIZE ACID” tattoo, although it seems like kind of a longhair inkjob, if you know what I mean. Is it meant to be ironic? Because I just love irony, Herb. I have a tattoo myself that reads “Kein Herz, Kein Schmerz.” That’s German, Herb. It means “No heart, no pain.” I bet if you had that one it would take on a whole different meaning! Just kidding, Herb…

Another thing we have in common is a fascination with earthquakes. You see, I have recurring dreams about these giant hands picking up the entire state of California and shaking it like an old rug, so that everything and everybody is scattered and destroyed like so much dust. But I’ve reacted differently than you. I spend three (3) hours daily practicing hiding under school desks and ducking in doorways, so that when the Big One comes, I’ll be ready. Preparation is key! I learned that in school. You also went to school, right? What was your favorite topic? Geology? Or was it Anatomy? Or perhaps Bible Lit and Physics because of Jonah and Einstein? Did you know that “Ein Stein” means “a rock” in German? And that rocks get really messed up in the event of an earthquake? I think you might have been on to something, Herb. I really do.

I also read that you liked Napster. I’m really sad that Napster isn’t around anymore, but I was curious as to what kind of music you liked? Probably not any of that longhair stuff. Did you know that there is a band named after you? It’s true. I haven’t listened to them, but they seem to be a Heavy Metal band, so they are all probably longhairs. How do you feel about this? Perhaps you should attempt to file an injunction against them and make them stop using your name and/or cut their hair. I don’t know, Herb, I just feel like longhairs shouldn’t be representing you.

Anyways, thanks for reading, Herb. I hope all is well and that there aren’t any earthquakes coming soon. But if they do, I’ll be ready for them. I also sent your old pal big Ed a package of moldy popcorn and a letter telling him that you have a beautiful singing voice and that he should leave you alone. I bet big Ed is a longhair at heart.


Neeno Hijistan

P.S. Enclosed is a drawing my friend did of you with Harry Nilsson. She thought you would like it, even though I told her you probably wouldn’t because that guy was a longhaired degenerate. I think she’s going to write you too, Herb. Her name is Donna. You probably shouldn’t write her back because she’s really weird and I think she’s romantically attracted to big Ed. You’re more handsome than big Ed, Herb.


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