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“I’ve never been a corporate/career type with a big job to hold me down,” says writer-musician Perri Pagonis, 42, of his move from Arlington to Athens, Greece, in February 2000. This nowhere-near-K Street mentality is shared by P-Man, the hero of Pagonis’ novel Blood and Popcorn, who giddily vacuums his B. Dalton outlet with an orange shopping bag on his head and Blue Oyster Cult for a soundtrack.
A mid-’80s romance about a slacker’s love for horror flicks, his mom, and a kinky photo-shop clerk, Blood and Popcorn culminates in the Halloween appearance, at Bailey’s Crossroads’ Skyline Mall, of former local TV-horror-film host Count Gore De Vol.
Pagonis freely admits that his opus is “about 80 percent biographical, with 20 percent pure weirdness thrown into the mix.” Pagoniswho holds a master’s degree in literature and is the former guitarist for local psychedelic-rock band Glosspaints his alter ego, P-Man, as a budding event promoter who creates “Cult Movie Friday” at the mall’s multiplex and arranges for the televampire to arrive in a car dubbed “the Blood Vessel.”
In real life, Pagonis has never met Dick Dyszel, who presided over WDCA-20’s Creature Feature from 1973 to 1979 and 1984 to 1987 and still draws breath in cyberspace at Countgore.com. The count, however, is a fan of the book. “I’ve been on TV, radio, in newspapers, magazines, and in movies, but this was the first time I was in a real book!” he says. “However, I was a bit upset that I didn’t get to bite the girl…any girl, that is!”
Pagonis has just completed Raw Power, a horror novel set in Winchester, Va., and is at work on Convenience Store Vampires. “[It’s] about a couple of inept nosferatu who run the graveyard shift at the 7-Eleven near [George Mason University] and the Lake Braddock high school Goth-darling girl who makes one of them fall in love with her,” Pagonis says. “Together, they transform business majors from the college into mindless zombies.
“I went to George Mason University for several years,” he continues, “and Fairfax is the perfect place for a novel about the undead.” Pamela Murray Winters