Transcript from Psychological Interview.
Subject: Christian ("Mouse") El-Aref
Interviewer: Tell me about your childhood.
Mouse: Mericful Allah, couldn't you be more original than that?
Interviewer: What would you like me to ask?
Mouse: Honestly? I was kind of hoping for those ink blots. I've been thinking up cool Fruedian answers for months. You know, all about my mother.
Interviewer: Would you like to talk about your mother?
Mouse: It's kind of difficult to talk about someone you only know only tangentally. I mean, nothing against dear old mom, but well, I didn't really know her until she was dead.
Interviewer: I don't understand. How could you have known her better when she was dead?
Mouse: Well, we didn't hang out much. She was a war correspondent for Al Manar Aljadeed and her job took her all over the world. She enrolled me in a Cairo boarding school when I was three and a half.
Interviewer: Are you bitter about that?
Mouse: About what?
Interviewer: About being abandoned at such a young age?
Mouse: It was school. And a really expensive one at that. I got a first rate education. Anyway, it's not like she left me on the street corner.
Interviewer: But you were abandoned eventually.
Mouse: I was? You mean in '61? Well, sure, everyone was. When the Aswan dam broke millions of people died. It's not like it was "poor me." Our whole country was fucked.
Interviewer: Are you saying you were unaffected by the Black Out Years?
Mouse: No. If anything, they defined me.
Interviwer: What do you mean by that?
Mouse: I was thirteen and, like everyone else who lost their parents, I was thrown out onto the streets. Although to be fair, it's not like the school could keep us. They did try. But the Aswan dam powered everything from the
Sinai Pennisula to Algiers. There was no electricty anywhere and no sign of it ever coming back. So, I was left to my own devices. I had to learn how to survive.
Interviewer: You make it sound ho-hum.
Mouse: My life was better than most. I lived.
Interviewer: You did more than live. You became the Mouse.
Mouse: I guess I did.
Interviewer: You don't sound very proud of it.
Mouse: Proud of what? Proud of what I had to do to survive? No, I don't think so.
Interviewer: You sound like you don't want to talk about it. Why?
Mouse: Because it doesn't make for polite conversation.
Interviewer: Mouse.net isn't polite?
Mouse: What? Oh that. Yeah, I guess that's pretty cool.
Interviewer: What were you talking about?
Mouse: Nothing. Let's talk about mouse.net.
Interviewer: Were you going to talk about mouse.net?
Mouse: Well, what do you want me to say? Mouse.net was born out of desperation. Like I said, I was thirteen. I don't know what the age of majority is here in the U.S., but in Egypt that meant I had two more years before my nexus activated the
nanobots that buildt the wetware that formed the internal LINK connections in my brain. So, I was LINKless during a time in Egypt when the only thing keeping the country alive was its LINK connections. Two years was too long to wait. I hacked in. Viola, mouse.net.
Interviewer: Again, you sound kind of disinterested. Would you rather talk about the other things you did during the Black Out Years?
Mouse: Fuck no.
Interviewer: I'm sensing a little hostility.
Mouse Really? You must have gotten your psychology degree from Harvard with such keen perception as that.
Interviewer: Did you do things you regret?
Mouse: Regret? No, not really. I mean, if I didn't do what I did I wouldn't be sitting here having this inane conversation with you. To me "regret" implies a certain amount of willingness not do it again if given the same situation, you know?
And, in that case I can't really regret anything that kept me alive.
Interviewer: Well, if not regret what do you feel?
Mouse: Hmmm. Well, a word popped into my head, but I don't really feel like sharing it.
Interviewer: Why not?
Mouse: Because we're talking about shit that went down half a lifetime ago for me. I mean, I'm thirty-something and sitting in jail for life. I've got bigger problems then what some hungry, desperate kid did fifteen years ago when the world was all chaos and blackwater.
Interviewer: Do you want to talk about how you ended up here?
Mouse: Uh, I think that's all fairly obvious even to the most casual observer. I mean, hello, convicted by a jury of my peers. End of story.
Interviewer: Do you have any remorse about your crime?
Mouse: Hmmm, let's see, no chance of parole, so why don't I just be honest? No. None whatsoever.
Interviewer: None? There isn't anything you'd do differently.
Mouse: Well, shit yeah. I wouldn't get caught.
Interviewer: You don't seem to want to take any of this very seriously. Are you afraid of talking about your feelings?
Mouse: Oh, thank Allah, you've finally pentrated my steely armor. Yes! Yes, I'm afraid. Comfort me.
Mouse: What, are we done? And here I'd just had a break through.
Interviewer: Your attitude is making this impossible.
Mouse: Maybe I can journal about that.
Interviewer: I thought we were making real progress. You disappoint me.
Mouse: Is that really the sort of thing you want to say to someone as unstable as me? I mean, what if that leads me to try to commit sucide? How do you know that it wasn't a phrase like that lead me to a life of crime in the first place? Maybe my
whole life has been a quest for approval by pyschologists and authority figures and you just blew it! I think it's your attitude that needs
readjusting, buddy. You should be more sensitive to my needs! You should be more open... [conversation becomes inaudible.]
Mr. El-Aref is a highly intelligent man, who clearly finds solace in sarcasm. After reviewing our interaction, however, I almost wonder if he would respond better to a female (perhaps even non-white) interviewer in a less clinical setting. I would like to suggest to the committee that we
consider this. I suggest this because when Mr. El-Aref speaks of his mother, there is no judging. He seems to have had a lot of genuine respect for her. We also know, from reviewing his case file, that Mr. El-Aref has a long standing respect for Ms. Deidre McMannus, despite
the fact that she is directly responsible for his incarceration. Perhaps the unmentionables that Mr. El-Aref implied happened during the Black Out Years had something to do with men. I understand that some restrictive Arabic cultures have a tradition of active male prostitution. Perhaps, Mr.
El-Aref has been scarred in someway toward the male gender due to such experiences. This, of course is all conjecture, but it seems that if we are ever going to reabilitate Mr. El-Aref without the use of correctional LINK-implants, I think we should consider attempting a second interview with a woman interrogator in a less
hostile environment. Considering his past escape attempts, however, we should be highly sensitive to security issues.