Morris, though, won’t admit to cynical thoughts, even when I cue him. I point out that in court Olmert had tried to destroy Morris’s reputation.
“That was his lawyers. Never, never would he have done this to me. Never, never.”
I’d once suggested to Morris that Olmert believed he was one among many close and helpful receivers of big hugs. “He would never, never have said that,” Morris insists. “Absolutely not.”
“It’s a little sad,” I say. “Your good friend going away so suddenly.”
“Well, I don’t know. Like everybody else, I have nothing to say about it. I wish him peace. Peace of heart, peace of mind, peace of soul. A restful life of some kind.”
It is a bizarrely bland send-off for a man he claims he loved. Morris won’t pull for his friend. Morris had been used, in effect, as a character witness, and couldn’t say that he trusted the character. “I don’t know if he’s guilty,” he says.
I say, “You know that your relationship with Olmert is over now.”
“Not so. Not so,” he insists.
For Morris, Long Island Jew with eternal longings, fund-raiser and businessman who lived by his connections, Olmert was the biggest prize. Olmert completed Morris. Olmert might dismiss the relationship as unimportant; Morris won’t let that stand. In this, I can’t help but think that Morris has won. His version of their relationship will prevail. His and his friend’s name are forever linked now.
Sometimes Morris says he still imagines a meeting with Olmert, as if all that’s needed is to clear the air.
What would he say to Olmert?
“I want to ask him, what’s going on? What’s this all about?”