Young Arvid Jansen lives on the outskirts of Oslo. It's the early '60s; his father works in a shoe factory, and his Danish mother works as a cleaner. Arvid has nightmares about crocodiles and still wets his bed at night, but slowly he begins to understand the world around him. Vivid images accompany each new event: A photo of his mother as a young woman makes him cry as he realizes how time passes, and the black car that comes to collect his father on the day Arvid's grandfather dies reminds him of the passing of his bullfinch. And then, one morning, his teacher tells his class to pray because a nuclear war is looming.