The song lyrics and the character Ramona A. Stone in my story belong to David Bowie.
A Mambo Slouch Unreal
The night was drawing breath when I stepped out the door. I was on my way to my dance class and feeling the cold sigh of the air as it caressed my long, long black hair. It twisted it, throwing it up to the clouds and letting it fall limp against my back. I smirked with the remembrance of Yeat's poem of "Brown Penny": "I'm looped in the loops of her hair." I walked excitedly to catch the train; I looked forward to this night all week long.
Waiting for the train, I gazed around at the other people. I felt wide awake and itching to dance away. I rehearsed the steps we had practiced thus far and by the time I had finished, we were arriving at my destination. I hadn't even noticed being on the train. I was out before the doors had fully opened and jogged off the platform, down the paint-chipped stairs and across the street to the studio door.
Up in the changing room, I dropped my knapsack to the wood floor and changed shoes, hands shaking. I locked my stuff away and went out onto the dance floor where my classmates awaited our teacher. They were fooling around, dancing to the music. It was like entering into Dream's embrace. We laughed and twirled amongst ourselves, knowing we would use the excuse that we were just "warming up" when Miss Julian arrived. She didn't like it when we started without her.
As Chris and I pushed and pulled each other, mentally counting "1, 2, 3...", red hair blurred in my vision as I moved to the beat. I stopped dead, searching for the color and found it: a beautiful slender woman. Her shiny red hair was cropped short at her nape and she, with her dance partner, were making up strange moves for which Miss Julian would have scolded us; she had always been one for tradition. The slender woman was doing the mambo with a slouch that would put Igor to shame. She laughed and her mouth was wide with red lipstick. The rest of us joined her fun and we began jumping here and there, almost appearing as animals. All of this, of course, ceased the millisecond Miss Julian entered the room. She had seen something, but what, we didn't dare explain.
She left her purse and other bag on a chair against the wall and clapped her hands for us to claim our positions and partners.
After our class, I approached the red headed woman, which I had found out was named April. We began talking about almost everything under the sun and as she spoke, I felt as if I had found something I was unaware I had lost.
* * *
"That," her mechanical voice interrupted, "Was a long time ago."
"What happened to you?" I asked, incredulous at what stood before me. All that I knew was the short red hair.
"Life happened. I changed... no. I warped, you might say," she turned around to face me. It had been twenty or more years since I had seen April and here she was, decades later. She had replaced her limbs, her skin, almost everything with metal; everything except the hair. She had always tended to it as one would tend a child.
"Please don't do this. There must be something human still inside you. You're not a drone."
"How would you know!? You weren't there when things started to...when I—"
"... Started to go insane. April, I'm sorry I ever left you. But I was— we were young and we didn't know what we wanted. Or needed. April, this isn't you. You're not a murderer!" I pleaded with her.
She stared at me without emotion. The sound of her metallic movements made me cringe.
"I forgot to introduce myself," she smiled without the sentiment, "I am Ramona A. Stone. I started with no enemies of my own; I was an artiste, in a tunnel. But I've been having a mid-life crisis and I've been dreaming of sleep. And ape men made with metal parts," she advanced towards me, "I've spat upon deeply felt age. I've hid my hearts in and I hate the funny colored English."
I strained against the rope that bound me to a chair. We were in the back of her deranged shop full of human parts.
With her cyborg hand, Ramona lifted my chin up, "Do you know what it's like when a person loses their name? They feel... anxiety descending. They feel left at the crossroads between the centuries."
Despite myself, I cried as I stared up at the monster, "You loved me once."
Her shaking head squeaked, "April loved you. I do not recognize 'love'," Ramona let go and returned to her table that had various gory tools strewn across it. Panic rose in me and I struggled even more.
Her mechanical voice cut in, "Yes, twitch and stream, darling Cordelia. But don't worry. I'll make you my most beautiful art project," Ramona pulled out metal sheets from a drawer, "It'll end in chrome."
Laying down the metal, she drew out a needle and panic exploded within me. I screamed insanely; my mind drew a horrifying blank. Ramona calmly stuck the needle in my arm and that was the last I knew of the world. Her, and her red hair.
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