All the other assistants of Santa Claus had somehow found their way to Technopolis in Gazi and they were totally ready to initiate the Christmas Factory so the world would not remain without holidays and the children would not lose the magic. Entire Athens would glow and send with pride the most beautiful Christmas all over the world. But nothing of the above could happen, if Mandrakoukos the Chiefgargle, the master craftsman of the factory would not arrive at Gazi. He was the one who gave the pulse to everything, who fixed the eventual mistakes and who sometimes yelled for everything to be ready on time. He did not let a thing to chance and one could say that he was the wisest and most experienced master craftsman the factory could ever have, especially this one. But where was Mandrakoukos and why had not found the way to arrive where Santa had summoned them? Normally he should be the first to arrive there. He had the responsibility of everything and that was something he would never forget. The only thing that justified his delay was the fact that he used to say that the ones who have the responsibility always arrive last to watch after the others. But in this case each of them was alone and there was no need for someone to stay back and watch for them. The four assistants and Santa Claus begun to really worry as the sun was up for good and the people had already begun to circulate through the city. For Mandrakoukos to circulate among them was not very safe. “Santa Claus, do something. Send a sign to Mandrakoukos to see that he is well”, said Depasta Licorice in anxiety. “I think I should go find him”, continued Charlie the Toymaster, making Santa Claus disagree. “Nobody is leaving from my side my good assistants. Mandrakoukos will find the way, you will see. I will send a small rain because I think that he has fallen asleep somewhere. With the water he will wake up”, said Santa Claus who didn’t want to worry them more. He raised his hands and like a director he commanded the clouds to discharge a light rain on the city. The first rain drops found immediately their target and begun to slowly glide on Mandrakoukos cheek. Fallen on some stairs behind a cab, he was trying to get over the crash. He had landed more clumsily than the others and that had caused him a little indisposition. The rain though encouraged him and made him stand on his feet. He looked around him admiring the pompous building. He gazed at the stones that had various things written on them that he didn’t understand and then he turned his eyes to the road. “Great. People”, he thought and approached one of the guards. The tall young man was still and he looked at him over the edge of his eye but without moving. “Hello. My name is Mandrakoukos and I am the master craftsman of Santa Claus. Do you know how I will go to Technopolis, in Gazi?” asked the Chiefgargle. No answer came from the lips of the man in the traditional uniform and nothing showed he would cooperate. He tried with the other guard too, but nothing happened. It was like no one was there. Mandrakoukos began to get angry. “What kind of impoliteness is this?”, he thought trying to understand where he was. The road in front of him had begun to get busier and some yellow cars were parked in a row. “I will ask here”, he thought and approached a yellow car. “Good morning. Could you tell me where I am?”, he asked politely. “Go to the first one. There is a row don’t you see it?”, answered the driver abruptly. Mandrakoukos went to the next driver and he repeated the question. “You are in Sintagma”, he answered and started his car. A man in hurry had entered in the back seat commanding the driver. “To Gazi and quickly”. Mandrakoukos was excited with what he heard. “So it is that easy”, he asked himself and entered the next taxi. “To Gazi please, in Technopolis”, he said and laid comfortably in the back seat. The driver looked at Mandrakoukos and his clothes that were totally weird for what he was accustomed to see. He looked at him severely and before starting the car he answered “Do you have money to pay me? Or you have escaped from a mad house?”. Mandrakoukos got overwhelmed and felt really embarrassed. “I, you know”, he said timidly, “I am a Christmas creature and I have ended up in this city along with the other assistants due to a breakdown. But don’t worry, we will make Christmas from here, as long as you take me to Technopolis”, continued Mandrakoukos from the back seat. “Do you have money?”, the driver continued to ask. “I do not know what money is. I have never needed it”, he replied and got a disappointing answer. “Get out man, if you do not have money, go on foot, it is straight ahead”, he told him showing Ermou street. Mandrakoukos had received up to that moment enough discouraging, but at least he had the information he wanted. “A straight line and I am there”, he said loudly and begun to walk. “Better on foot than with rude people”, he thought gazing at the beautiful square. The rain had stopped and the master craftsman of the Christmas Factory was very close to the magic group. “People need the holidays more than anything. They are so stressed” he said to himself, giving a healthier explanation to their behavior. “People are not bad, they only need some time to stop taking their lives so seriously”, he continued to think making his way more pleasant, even if he was a little late. He knew he would make it on time to put the factory in operation. Besides everyone would be there and would put a magic hand to make this year the most beautiful Christmas!

Article by George Lebesis for The Christmas Factory