What a cliché! Yet, it was true. he really had never been so scared in his life. But his editor would never accept that. He tried to find something new.
Heart beat omission as reporter lacking ease of mind takes three steps back before turning to run.
Officer’s command omission results in backward slide of ill at ease journalist.
Backward retreat order omission: Soldiers ill at ease at confession.
He spent the next five minutes trying to admit to himself that each of these formulations was a vast improved on the time-worn cliché he’d wanted to use. But he was too good a journalist for that. With a sigh his pen tip extinguished the offending words and he wrote simply:
I’d never been so scared in my like as that day when I was left behind enemy lines.
Of course, what he’d really wanted to say was:
Forced cliché omission reporter at ease over editor’s hasty backward retreat.
Now that really was avoiding the cliché.