“Mr. Arcularis,” Conrad Aiken, 1931 — A demure man, in every way slight of personality and form, appears to be going on an exciting voyage. There he meets his long-dead mother and uncle, whose bodies he found as a child, washed up on the shore. Arcularis has a gay time with this figures, responsible for an early trauma that sapped some of the color from his life. The ending reveals that he is not on a journey, but a patient undergoing surgery, and that the operation has failed. When he passes, the surgeon and nurse pause for a moment, “and then the ordered life of the hospital was resumed.”
Comments: Read in Perchance to Dream.
Author: Wikipedia: “Conrad Potter Aiken (5 August 1889 – 17 August 1973) was an American novelist and poet, whose work includes poetry, short stories, novels, a play and an autobiography.”