"24 Hours": At a 24-hour diner, John Dee observes the regular patrons. Bette Munroe is a writer masquerading as a waitress - or perhaps the other way around. Judy is a young lesbian girl, of whom many locals do not approve. Garry and Kate Fletcher are rumoured to have ma
Synopsis for "24 Hours"
At a 24-hour diner, John Dee observes the regular patrons. Bette Munroe is a writer masquerading as a waitress - or perhaps the other way around. Judy is a young lesbian girl, of whom many locals do not approve. Garry and Kate Fletcher are rumoured to have married because he was after her money, but Bette can see that they are truly in love. Bette has been having an affair with a man named Marsh. Marsh's wife Marsha died of alcoholism. A young man named Mark doesn't yet know anybody there.
In his second hour there, Dee is forced to use the ruby he stole from Dream to prevent any of the patrons from leaving. Mark realizes he's late for a meeting, but as he gets up to leave, he suddenly changes his mind inexplicably, and orders another coffee. Judy calls her girlfriend Donna's place, but ends up getting her mother. Donna's mother doesn't approve of their relationship, and hangs up on her.
In hour four, Dee watches a children's television program, where he influences the host to tell the children that they should slash their wrists, slashing his own on camera. When the television program goes off the air, Dee bursts out laughing.
In hour five, the patrons begin to get restless. Garry realizes that they've been there for far longer than they meant to be, but he can't bring himself to leave. In hour six, Judy writes a letter to Donna, apologizing for hitting her. Meanwhile, Garry still can't fully form his thoughts.
In hour 7, Dee makes them see what they desire most. Mark wants to be an executive director, with lots of money. Garry has a twenty dollar hooker in the back of a convertible. After beating her up, he'll drive off. Kate dreams of killing Garry, knowing that he'll never have the chance to cheat on her again.
In hour 9, he sparks conflict, with Marsh fighting Judy for her sexual orientation. In hour 10, he makes them love him. In hour 11, the news reports indicate that people seem to be going mad all over the planet.
In hour 12, he has each of them reveal something about themselves. Kate tells the story of how when she was 18, she got drunk and wandered into a funeral home. She found her way into the mortuary, where the corpse of a young man was laid out on the table. Seeing him excited her, and she went over to the body, and began to play with it. Eventually, she had sex with the body. Sex with her husband Garry has never been as exciting for her as that time was.
In hour 13, Dee forces them to have an orgy. In hour 14, he demands that they tell his future. They claim that he will die soon. He demands a different future, and they claim instead that he will become all powerful, and usurp the place of the Lord of Dreams.
In hour 15, he lets them have their minds back for just a short while. In hour 16, he has one of them murdered in the dark. In hour 17, Marsh confesses that Marsha had known about his affair with Bette, and that's what drove her to alcoholism. As he confesses this, he hammers nails into his hand. Furthermore, he confesses that he met Bette's estranged son in Gotham City, where he was working as a male prostitute. Despite his relationship with the boy's mother, he hired him for sex.
In hour 18, Dee reverts them to primal beings, forcing Garry and Mark to fight for leadership. Garry tears out the younger man's throat with his teeth. By hour 20, Bette has sliced off some of her companions' limbs with a knife. He convinces Judy to attempt a religious experience by gouging out her own eyes. By hour 22, they are all dead.
In the 24th hour, Dream arrives. Dee is not convinced that the new arrival will provide him with much entertainment.
Appearing in "24 Hours"
- Bette Munroe (Dies)
- Judy (Dies)
- Garry Fletcher (Dies)
- Kate Fletcher (Dies)
- Marsh (Dies)
- Mark (Dies)
- Judy's girlfriend Donna, who is only mentioned in this issue, appears in Sandman (Volume 2) #32 under the name of Foxglove.
- This story was adapted as a fan film. Watch here.
- This issue is reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Sandman #6, Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes and The Absolute Sandman, Volume One.