A central mystery in high-temperature superconductivity is the origin of the so-called strange metal (i.e., the anomalous conductor from which superconductivity emerges at low temperature). Measuring the dynamic charge response of the copper oxides, [Formula: see text], would directly reveal the collective properties of the strange metal, but it has never been possible to measure this quantity with millielectronvolt resolution. Here, we present a measurement of [Formula: see text] for a cuprate, optimally doped Bi2.1Sr1.9CaCu2O8+x (Tc = 91 K), using momentum-resolved inelastic electron scattering. In the medium energy range 0.1-2 eV relevant to the strange metal, the spectra are dominated by a featureless, temperature- and momentum-independent continuum persisting to the electronvolt energy scale. This continuum displays a simple power-law form, exhibiting q2 behavior at low energy and q2/ω2 behavior at high energy. Measurements of an overdoped crystal (Tc = 50 K) showed the emergence of a gap-like feature at low temperature, indicating deviation from power law form outside the strange-metal regime. Our study suggests the strange metal exhibits a new type of charge dynamics in which excitations are local to such a degree that space and time axes are decoupled.