Major Story Arcs
The woman who eventually took the name of Sunflower starts life as Sheila Fay Bernbaum. She grows up in Brooklyn in a Jewish household; her father is Martin and her mother is Esther. Her aunt is Ettie, who is known for her temperamental insanity, and who has the same color eyes as Sheila. Family tradition says that insanity comes to all those with that eye color, and people think Sheila may turn out to be like Ettie. She loves her father, and often discusses philosophy and watches TV with him; she has nightmares about her aunt, who dies in an asylum. However, Ettie has a flute, which Sheila eventually inherits.
She is very artistic and sensitive as a child. At one point, a girl friend of hers shows her a stag film, which she finds shocking, and sends her father into a protective rage, and he yells at the other girl’s parents. She has somewhat of a complex about sex thereafter, finding it empty as an adult. Later she gets into a competitive clique at school, and steals some records from an often-picked-on friend, but feels remorse and tosses them out a window. Her best friend is Barry. They are very close. He joins the army and plans to go to Vietnam, but he has a car accident before he goes, and dies. Sheila is shattered.
She eventually rebels against her parents’ cloistered life, and tries to escape her sorrows, and becomes a hippie, almost burning herself out. She takes the name Sunflower, and seeks truth in sex, drugs, politics, philosophy, religion, and music, but doesn’t find it. Her life at this point mirrors the madness of her Aunt Ettie’s.
Then she meets Moonshadow (the elder). She loves his romantic ideas, but unlike her he is still anchored in reality. He is good for her. Unfortunately he too joins the army after being drafted, and is killed in combat.
She continues to wander about, and ends up on a commune. She calls her parents, possibly ready to finally come home, but they’re not there. Later that night, while petting the commune’s cat, Frodo, she is abducted by the whimsical alien beings, the G’L-Doses. They send her to the Zoo, a construct in space where all their kidnap victims reside in chaos. Everyone there lives forever, and the G’L-Doses just leave them there with nothing to do.
However, in a unique situation, one of the G’L-Doses decides to marry and impregnate Sunflower. She has a son, whom she names Moonshadow. Her love for him brings her mind back from the brink. They live there many years.
One of the only times she is mad at him is when he plays soldier; her memories of Barry and the original Moonshadow have given her a great hatred of war, and she slaps him.
One day, the G’L-Doses decide to let Moonshadow out to explore the universe; he is the first denizen of the Zoo to be set free. They give him a space ship, the Decrepit, and send Sunflower, Frodo, and their friend Ira along with him.
On their first adventure, they are warned that a certain area of space is infected with the Pewkadook Plague. Sunflower wants to help out anyone who has it. They go onto a planet, and Sunflower sees a sick alien giving birth. She feels sympathy for it, and helps it give birth. Unfortunately the baby is a monster, and bites through Sunflower’s stomach. She gives Moon her most prized possession, her flute, on her deathbed soon after.
Moonshadow is broken-hearted and stages a massively expensive funeral for her at Jobidiah Unkshuss’s Funeral Palace on the gaudy mall world of Gimmegimme. The funeral devolves into chaos and Moon’s hoped-for beautiful memorialization of his mother turns out horribly.
In his many subsequent adventures, Moon sometimes has visions of his dead mother, usually acting as a form of conscience or to help in in a dangerous situation. When he is caught in the war on Tsuris and trying to save Ira, he sees her and she tells the story of the original Moonshadow. She then leads him to a G’L-Doses (or perhaps she is the G’L-Doses), who sends him to be caught by the opposing army. He sees her again in the prisoner of war camp as he hallucinates about being a child. Some time later, he is about to lose his virginity to the Lady Shady when she appears, disappointed that he is going to have sex with her when Shady has such obvious emotional problems; her appearance inspires him to do the right thing and leave. His last vision of her is on the World of Mists, when she leads him into a cave to his Awakening, a pivotal mystical experience that helps him come to grips with the many difficulties in his life.