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In the Vertigo Sandman series, Mort Notkins was in charge of guarding the imprisoned Dream. Unknown to him and the other guards, the outer circle that held Dream was broken. So Dream pretended to be dead, and when Mort and the other guards saw something was wrong with him, unlocked the glass cage that was in the broken magical circle, and went inside it to see what was wrong with him.

Since Dream was weak physically, he had to find some other means of escape than running out his prison. When he was playing possum, Dream had also conjured some sand that he clenched in his left hand. When the guards came running in, he blew some sand on them and they fell asleep.

After they fell asleep, Dream entered Mort Notkins' dream. Mort's recurring dream was that he was at a "swell party, but he's dressed as a clown." Mort thought it was a costume party, but it wasn't, and various pop icons, like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and John Wayne, were all laughing at him. Meanwhile, Dream, weakened from years of imprisonment, raided the buffet table and took some chicken from Colonel Sanders. Dream scarfs the dream food down, and empowered a little from it, escapes into the Dreaming, the Dream King's domain. Mort wondered who that naked man was who stole all the food.

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