His conception of time was, perhaps, the strangest thing about him, and that’s saying something when you consider the fact that he invented a sodium pentothal podium for use by preachers and professors, and that he worked as a part time Charles Starkweather impersonator.
“Time,” he said in that distinctive high nasal wheeze rattle voice, “is like a bell: tubular. It coils ever upward.” He went on and on at length about the curvilinear nature of a space bounded within a supra-dimensional coil.
“Like strings?” I suggested, throwing out the one sliver of scientific jargon I’d picked up from somewhere sometime. “String theory? Eleven dimensions? All that?”
He looked at me accusingly, as if I’d insulted his mother and her famous recipe for chipped-beef gravy on toast, as if I’d sold his dog to a Korean meat market. “Don’t speak if you haven’t anything intelligent to say,” he snapped at me, then finger snapped an inch from my nose to punctuate his words.
“Time rings; it sings, but you can’t travel back in time by pushing backwards through it. Imagine water in a hose – you can’t swim backward through it toward the spigot because the stream is too powerful. And you can’t propel yourself forward in time because the time stream hasn’t gone there yet.”
Stand-by all vertical gravitators! Activate photon rotoscoping! I didn’t understand a word of it.
“But time travel is possible,” he winked. “You just have to puncture the coil.”