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   Anthrax would put up with his father coming along so long as he kept

   his mouth shut during the interview. He certainly wasn't there for

   personal support. They had a distant relationship at best. When his

   father began working in the town where Anthrax now lived and studied,

   his mother had tried to patch things between them. She suggested his

   father take Anthrax out for dinner once a week, to smooth things over.

   Develop a relationship. They had dinner a handful of times and Anthrax

   listened to his father's lectures. Admit you were wrong. Cooperate

   with the police. Get your life together. Own up to it all. Grow up. Be

   responsible. Stop being so useless. Stop being so stupid.

  

   The lectures were a bit rich, Anthrax thought, considering that his

   father had benefited from Anthrax's hacking skills. When he discovered

   Anthrax had got into a huge news clipping database, he asked the boy

   to pull up every article containing the word `prison'. Then he had him

   search for articles on discipline. The searches should have cost a

   fortune, probably thousands of dollars. But his father didn't pay a

   cent, thanks to Anthrax. And he didn't spend much time lecturing

   Anthrax on the evils of hacking then.

  

   When they arrived at AFP headquarters, Anthrax made a point of putting

   his feet up on the leather couch in the reception area and opened a

   can of Coke he had brought along. His father got upset.

  

   `Get your feet off that seat. You shouldn't have brought that can of

   Coke. It doesn't look very professional.'

  

   `Hey, I'm not going for a job interview here,' Anthrax responded.

  

   Constable Andrew Sexton, a redhead sporting two earrings, came up to

   Anthrax and his father and took them upstairs for coffee. Detective

   Sergeant Ken Day, head of the Computer Crime Unit, was in a meeting,

   Sexton said, so the interview would be delayed a little.

  

   Anthrax's father and Sexton found they shared some interests in law

   enforcement. They discussed the problems associated with

   rehabilitation and prisoner discipline. Joked with each other.

   Laughed. Talked about `young Anthrax'. Young Anthrax did this. Young

   Anthrax did that.

  

   Young Anthrax felt sick. Watching his own father cosying up to the

   enemy, talking as if he wasn't even there.

  

   When Sexton went to check on whether Day had finished his meeting,

   Anthrax's father growled, `Wipe that look of contempt off your face,

   young man. You are going to get nowhere in this world if you show that

   kind of attitude, they are going to come down on you like a ton of

   bricks.'

  

   Anthrax didn't know what to say. Why should he treat these people with

   any respect after the way they threatened his mother?

  

   The interview room was small but very full. A dozen or more boxes, all

   filled with labelled print-outs.

  

   Sexton began the interview. `Taped record of interview conducted at

   Australian Federal Police Headquarters, 383 Latrobe Street Melbourne

   on 29 November 1994.' He reeled off the names of the people present

   and asked each to introduce himself for voice recognition.