50 WORD MICROFICTION

Thrifty Words Challenge #15: Transformation

A delicious dessert of meringue topped with whipped cream and fruit. (This one has chocolate too —a step too far!)
A delicious dessert of meringue topped with whipped cream and fruit. (This one has chocolate too —a step too far!)
Pavlova (Photo by Sergio Arze on Unsplash)

The egg whites glistened in the bowl.

The whisk thrashed air and sugar through the mix, turning the clear liquid into a silky white foam.

Heat made it hard on the outside and soft in the middle.

Whipped cream, passion fruit, and banana made it Pavlova.

The transformation was complete.

Why contentious? Get an Australian and a New Zealander in a room and ask them — both will claim the Pavlova was invented in their country.

Food writer, TV personality, and all-round food celebrity Matt Preston wrote,


A figure drawn on a wall hangs beneath a heart, like a desperate man hanging from a balloon.
A figure drawn on a wall hangs beneath a heart, like a desperate man hanging from a balloon.
Hanging on for dear life, knowing it’s just hot air holding me up (Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash)

Thrifty Words Challenge #14: Fever


An old-fashioned engraving of ornately uniformed and mustached Baden soldiers with pointy helmets. Some also have plumes!
An old-fashioned engraving of ornately uniformed and mustached Baden soldiers with pointy helmets. Some also have plumes!
Members of the Political Unrest Suppression Specialist Yeomanry (Photo by British Library on Unsplash)

Thrifty Words Challenge #12: Pussy


50 WORD MICROFICTION

Thrifty Words Challenge #10: Special

A harnessed, blindfolded man kneels. A a woman pushes her high-heeled shoe into his back and holds his blindfold like reins.
A harnessed, blindfolded man kneels. A a woman pushes her high-heeled shoe into his back and holds his blindfold like reins.
Don’t order the ‘special’ — it’s not what you want… Or is it? (photo by coloringcuties on Pixabay)

I wasn’t sure she liked me until she leaned across the table and smirked,

Don’t order the ‘special’ here!

I looked at her, then the waiter,

I’ll have the special.

She swallowed nervously. He returned to the kitchen.

I heard a muffled voice through the door,

“Cookie, prepare the harness?”

Copyright © Damian Clarke 2020.

On Medium, Damian Clarke writes for The Bad Influence and An Idea, 97 Things I Learned as a Stay-at-Home Dad and Our Albion. In the outside world, he writes for The Fifth Estate, The Green List, various other publications from time-to-time, and a range of corporate clients.

Did you miss last week’s Thrifty Words challenge?

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Having consummated, all that was left was to consume. (Photo by Designecologist from Pexels)

Thrifty Words Challenge #9: Greed


And feel free to give it too…

I turn and look at the tramp in case I know him from the winter homeless shelter where we help out and he would be offended if I didn’t say hello. I am suited and booted — navy blue suit with mauve pinstripe, crisp white shirt, pale blue silk tie, a bit like I am dressed in this story, I think it’s even the same tie:

As usual, I am late, so eating a cheese and ham toastie that I made as I walked out the door, from some foil in my hand.

I give him a confused…


Just as we rely on unsaid messages in our interpersonal communications, we must be careful of the unstated messages our businesses send too.

I spend a lot of time crafting written messages, video scripts and speeches for large and small businesses. Many of them have a clear idea of what they want to say to the world. Some of them are aware of the context of their messages and how their business is, or could be, perceived by an audience. But some give no thought at all to the context in which their message will be received.

Here are a couple of examples from businesses (not my clients) just last week. …


They don’t sell nails by weight any more, and they’re not nails

It is quite easy to undertake a task without really seeing the magnitude of it until some tiny detail exposes true scale of the project

This weekend I will be building a balcony on top of our kitchen’s flat roof at the back of the house. It’s a great space, and most of our neighbors have already converted theirs with some decking and a few planter boxes.

A VERY architectural, aspirational looking timber deck with planter boxes and a raised covered bit that could not be real.
A VERY architectural, aspirational looking timber deck with planter boxes and a raised covered bit that could not be real.
An aspirational timber deck (Photo: Julius Yls on Unsplash)

We found some half price planter boxes at Homebase last weekend — bought 10 of those. I have ordered the 90 linear meters of deck boards, and the…

Damian Clarke

I’m a writer and publisher working in Sydney, Australia and London, UK. I specialise in finance, technology, insurance, property, medicine and sustainability.

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