Common sense has gone out for a cup of coffee

Cedric always said that sanity was overrated. "How many people who were perceived as normal by their peers ever achieved anything in their lives? Name one!" he always said when the subject of sanity arose in conversation. Whenever someone named a famous person who didn`t have a single extravagant trait to their personality, Cedric would either pretend that he hadn`t heard of the person or that the person wasn`t significant enough to count, or that the person was crazy after all. "Are you saying that Pascal was normal? Then how do you explain that this good Christian wrote obscene poetry about male genitalia and that he had a yearly ticket for most parisian brothels?" You could start arguing that you had never heard anyone mention such details about Pascal`s life, but Cedric wouldn`t listen because he obviously knew better.

Had Cedric been just a regular lunatic, he would probably be a lonely and pathetic person living a miserable and dull life. However his celebration of insanity was so intense and electrifying that you just couldn`t say no to him, and without accepting his ideas you still wanted to spend as much time in his company as possible. At least I did.

The circumstances of our first meeting perfectly matched everything that Cedric was about. I was on a boat trip in Poland with some friends on the amazing Narew river. The boating trip itself was a disaster. At the very beginning of the trip it turned out that five out of the eight participants of the trip had never as much as held an oar in their hands. Our progress along the river was nearly non-existant, there was a murderous heat, everyone was stressed and we ran out of beer much sooner than expected. We had to make stops every thirty minutes for every absurd reason you could name. During one of such stops when I was already contemplating whether I should strangle or drown some of my travel mates, I suddenly saw a huge man floating along the river. He wasn`t even swimming, he was just floating with the current and I could see that he was having a great time at this, quite unlike myself. "Hiya! Where are you going?", I asked him. "All the way to the sea," he replied. "And for how long have you been doing this?" - "Dunno, I guess I jumped into the river a few days ago. When I`m getting tired, I get out and ask the first person I meet to stay the night at their house. So far there have been no refusals." I felt a strong urge to leave my company and join this peculiar man on his journey. Obviously I did not have the guts to do so. Instead I persuaded my friends to move on, and we continued our periluous and dull trip. When I finally came home, a letter from Cedric awaited me. I had no idea how and why he had found me, but he had. In the letter he invited me to visit him at his country house in Latvia. Normally I would just ignore such a letter and I would spend much time thinking of the motivation behind it. For example - what could this guy want from me? Was he homosexual? Or maybe homicidal? How did he find my address, as I hadn`t as much as told him my name? What did it mean, that he lived in Latvia of all places? But I somehow felt that to Cedric (who`s name I didn`t know then) standard logic did not apply. So against what I would otherwise perceive as better judgement I bought a plane ticket to Riga.

Cedric met me at the airport. He had come there in a very strange car, something that looked like it had been transported from either another time or another dimension, most likely - some ancient time and a faraway land. And to make himself look even weirder he was a wearing a straw hat that he had probably nicked off a scarecrow.

He drove me to his house located in a middle of a swamp. At first the location seemed odd to me, but soon I realized that swamps make up the biggest part of the country, so those people who happen to live outside swamps are a minority. I couldn`t help asking Cedric, what he did for a living and what he was doing in such a strange country (it was obvious that he was not native there). "I`m a philosopher", he said, "thus I do all kinds of things." I asked him, how one could earn anything off philosophy nowadays, to which Cedric replied that he was not a philosopher in the narrow, but in the wide sense of the word. Not that it made anything clearer than before.

As it turned out, the wide sense of being a philosopher meant that Cedric got most of his income by giving consultation on suicides. Apparentely, most people willing to commit suicide don`t know where to start in order to perform their task successfully on the very first try. And this is where Cedric came in. He claimed to know more than four thousand different ways how one could commit suicide on a shoestring budget. Out of those - no fewer than 50 ways to commit suicide by using just shoestrings. And couple dozen methods of suicide by using stones of various shapes and sizes. When I asked Cedric what would be his own favourite way to go, his reply was that he would prefer to die of old age in his own bed. I suggested that this answer was way too common for an excentric like himself. But he just said: "What do you know? Death from natural causes is so uncommon nowadays, that you can`t even imagine." Afterwards he did not speak to me for an hour, which by his standards was close to eternity.

And then on day, quite suddenly, I ran out of ideas how to continue the story, which had characters but no plot. I didn`t even have an idea what to do with the characters - should they start a relationship or shouldn`t they? I wasn`t even entirely sure of the sex of the main character. He was most probably a man, but I couldn`t be sure. And how do you expect to go on under such circumstances? What do you say - maybe you can come up with an ending that would fit the mood nicely? If no, simply consider that the story was stopped by the secret police for being too silly.