Each week Elliot envisions another crystal clear scenario of how the world will end. His thinking has evolved. He used to picture earth, as seen from outer space, a blue jewel in the deep darkness, bursting into a fiery blaze. Nuclear bombs explode simultaneously and just like that it’s over. Now he believes the earth will simply fizzle in a whirl of crazy storms, extreme temperatures and harsh outbreaks of poison ivy. To prepare for the inevitable, Elliot has gone on a liquid fast this week, reasoning that only the well-equipped and well-adjusted, those who can seize opportunity rather than fight to restore a way of life that is gone, will survive. Elliot is eight years old.