Stop beeping, you tomato!

01.February 2022

Stop beeping, you tomato!

RED NOSES clowns are back to visit children with cancer at the paediatric oncology ward in Berlin, Germany again. Due to the pandemic, they could only bring joy through online meetings to the small patients for several months. What a joy to see the kids live again after such a long time.

On the first day back on the paediatric oncology ward, it is Monday, the RED NOSES clowns Perdita Poppers and Musto are very excited. The tension is high, like in the minutes before the kick-off of a very important European Championship soccer match. When entering the ward, the clowns are warmly welcomed by the nursing staff. Everyone is happy that the clowns are back!

In the first hospital room Perdita and Musto encounter a girl, named Alina*. The 5-year-old has cancer and has been on the ward for several months. For monitoring purposes, Alina is permanently tied to a measuring device with tubes, and she is therefore very limited in her mobility. When the clowns enter the room, Alina looks at them shyly at first. Perdita takes out a small squirrel from her pocket. In the beginning, the fluffy toy squirrel is scared and hides behind the clowns. But as time goes by, it becomes more and more courageous and finally jumps on Alina's bed. Cautiously, the clowns get closer to the shy girl.

The beeping machine

"Hello, I'm Perdita Poppers and this is my friend Musto," Perdita says, pointing to her fellow clown next to her. "And who are you?"
Alina replies very softly, "My name is Alina." -
"Hello Alina," Musto replies. "May I tell you a story?". But as soon as Musto starts his story with 'Once upon a time', the machine next to the bed suddenly beeps very loudly.
Musto is startled, "What was that?"
The machine beeps again.
"Where did that come from?" wonder the clowns.
Alina smirks.
"Well, never mind. After all, I wanted to tell you a nice sto...",
"Beep, beep, beep" goes the machine again.
"Well, this is getting very strange for me. I can't even tell you my story without getting interrupted,"
Musto is annoyed.
"Beep, beep, beep." The machine interrupts him again and again and again.
Alina, however, finds it very funny.

After repeated beeping, Perdita and Musto playfully lose a little their patience and start arguing with the machine:
"Please stop beeping now. We understand that you are here."
Beep, beep, beep.
"Stop it, you, you, tomato!" says Musto, already quite irritated.
Suddenly Alina sighs sadly, "I'm not allowed to eat tomatoes any more."
At that moment, a nurse enters the room and while she is fixing something on the machine, the clowns, together with Alina, think about more 'swear words':
"Stop beeping, you cucumber, you spaghetti, you banana!"
Immediately it gets very quiet in the room. The machine seems to obey them and the clowns are happy that they have finally managed to keep things in order.

You tomato!

A week later, again on a Monday, clown Musto encounters little Alina again in her hospital room. This time he is accompanied by clown Brischitt. The girl recognises him immediately and is happy that the RED NOSES clowns are back. She happily plays with them until the machine interrupts her again.
"Oh, you again!” Musto turns to the machine. "Alina, do you have any idea how we can get the machine to stop beeping this time?"
Alina sits up in her bed and replies confidently and with full conviction, "Stop beeping now, you tomato!"

Thanks to the clowns, the tomato is no longer a taboo subject for Alina.

*Name changed for protection.

**The photos were taken before the Corona pandemic. Currently, the artists wear masks and maintain the distance and hygiene rules.