When I first saw him he was teaching and referred to by many as the Yoga Nazi. I myself witnessed him trying to prevent a woman from leaving mid-class to go the ladies room. Soon after I stared tattooing him. He was the only person I ever worked on who would routinely manage to fall asleep while been drawn on with a needle. This, I suppose, was a result of him staying up all night at parties, going directly to teach early morning class, then bicycling out to Brooklyn and lying on a rickity table with a rolled up shirt under his head as a pillow. The shop had jerry-rigged wiring with plugs fed through holes in the walls, but no matter. So long as I could get a current running and the toilet wasn't flooding, he would come to see me.
The first tattoo I did on him was of a rooster. I used an old picture book as reference, one I had growing up and managed to save, a Ukrainian Folk Tale called "the Ear of Corn." It was a story about a hardworking cockerel named Golden Throat, and two lazy mice named Twist and Turn. Golden Throat wakes up early and finds an ear of corn. He then spends the rest of the story threshing, going to the mill, and baking, while the mice play catch, leap-frog, sing songs and dance. It is a morality tale, ending with, "Such loafers and do-nothings should not be treated to cakes!" The first time I spoke to him after I did the tattoos, I repressed a powerful urge to ask, "How is your cock healing? Does it still itch? Are the scabs all gone?" These are things which, naturally, one refrains from speaking aloud to all but the closest of friends, and we had only just met.
As I drew intricate patterns on his skin he would tell me stories of the night before. He was always getting into predicaments. For example, he would drink several beers at a party and then, at the slightest encouragement, remove his jeans, which would promptly and mysteriously go missing.
What ever happened to Yoga Elvis? Could he have put on khakis and a button-down shirt and transformed into an office drone collecting rubber bands into a large ball? Or did he catch a gnarly wave all the way to the edge where he was eaten by dragons? I still have the tracing I took of his lower back where he wanted a Byzantine tree, but perhaps by now that area is partially filled with something else entirely. Somebody buy the man a ticket to New York. Because, as we know, such loafers and do-nothings should not be treated to cakes.