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“Pataphysics,” repeats Ballard.

“Pataphysiques,” Cote corrects him. “It’s French. Science asks ‘why does the rock fall down?’ Pataphysiques is the opposite.”

“It asks why the rock doesn’t fall down?”

“Why it falls up.

“It… doesn’t,” says Ballard slowly.

“Don’t avoid the question!” Cote’s grinning now. “Think of it as a deliberately wrong premise for a syllogism. Logic tells us that when your premise is false, you can’t disprove the conclusion, no matter what it is. Why does the rock fall up? Therefore, time isn’t real.”

“But that kind of proof is worthless!”

“Oh, sure,” sniffs Cote, “if you listen to logic.