Daniel Radcliffe Memorizes the Lyrics to “Alphabet Aerobics”

This is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is completely intentional. Except for Emma Watson, who seems like a perfectly nice woman. Inspired by One More Thing.


“Artificial amateurs aren’t at all amazing. Analytically, I assault and amaze…”

Daniel Radcliffe pressed “pause”, then “back”. He glared balefully at his iPod.

“No! That’s not right.”

He pressed “play”. The song began again:

“Now it’s time for our wrap-up. Let’s give it everything we’ve got!”

Daniel nodded in time with the beat. This time, he thought, I’ll get past “D”.

“Artificial amateurs aren’t at all amazing. Analytically, I assault, animate things! Broken barriers bounded by the bomb — buh?”

Someone’s hand was on his shoulder. He spun around. Rupert Grint was looking down at him. He’d gotten a lot taller in the last few months.

“Haven’t you heard of knocking?”

“I did knock. You didn’t answer, so I figured you had those bloody headphones in again.” Rupert’s brow furrowed. “Were you rapping?

“What’s it to you?”

“Sounds weird, mate.”

“Shut up!”

“You shut up!”


“Gift got great, global goods gone glorious, gettin’ godly in this game with the gloriest… no.”

Daniel paused and rewound without even glancing at the iPod Nano, as though he’d done it hundreds of times in the past few weeks. They were shooting a few different green-screen bits at once, and it was going to be a long day, but that also meant more time to practice.

“Oi, Radcliffe!” It was James Phelps, shouting from across the stage. Or Oliver Phelps. He could never tell the two apart from voice alone.

He looked up. Both of them.


The twins bounded in Daniel’s direction.

“No, don’t stop,” said James.

“Yes, Harry, play it again!” said Oliver. “Fifteenth time’s the charm.”

“You mean fiftieth?” said James.

“Fifty-fifth!” said Oliver.

“Look,” said Daniel, “do I bother you when you’re relaxing between shots?”

“Does Harry bother us?” said James.

“You mean outside of his weak flow and terrible American accent?” said Oliver.

“Of course,” said James.

“Not at all!” said Oliver.

“Hey!” said Daniel.

“Relax,” said James. “We’re just kidding around.”

“You’ve got a lot of promise,” said Oliver. “You could even be the next—“

“Dizzee Radcliffe!” shouted James.

“Danny Rascal!” shouted Oliver. “…no, you got the good one. Bollocks.”

* * * * *

Later that week, the twins rigged the mermaid egg to play “Alphabet Aerobics” when Daniel opened it in the bathroom scene. The song didn’t stop when he slammed it shut. It was a long time before Shirley Henderson stopped cackling long enough to shoot the next take.


“Marvel and move, many mock what I’ve mastered, nigg— gah!”

Daniel tapped the “pause” symbol on his new iPhone. He glanced around, as though someone might have heard.

But that was ridiculous. Who would be looking for him in the office of Dolores Umbridge?

Ever since Matthew Lewis hid a recorder in his dressing room, he’d been using out-of-the-way bits of Hogwarts Castle to practice. This out-of-the-way bit was still covered in cat pictures, but at least he was alone.

Emma Watson poked her head into the doorway.

“What did you just say?”

Daniel’s face couldn’t decide whether to blanch or blush, so in the end he looked fairly composed.

“Sorry, it… just slipped out.”

Emma rolled her eyes. “That’s totally racist, you know.”

“I’ve never made it that far before! I didn’t realize the word was coming up.”

“Whatever. What the hell are you doing in my office?”

Your office?”

“It’s where I come to study for the GCSE!”

“Can’t you just study at home?”

“Can’t you just rap at home?” Emma walked into the room, unshouldered a heavy backpack, and dropped it on Daniel’s desk with a loud thump. “I can’t believe I’m even using that verb, by the way. And no, I can’t just study when I’m at home. I need every spare second I can get. Do you have any idea how much pressure I’m under?”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Can you imagine the press if Hermione Granger doesn’t get into Oxford? I’m going to need some bloody good scores if I’m not to embarrass myself.”

“Why does it even matter? You’re a millionaire!”

“Well, some of us have ambition, Dan. Money isn’t everything, you know.”

“I have ambition!”

“Oh, of course!” Emma slapped herself in the forehead. “How could I forget? You’re going to be the next Eminem.”

“The group is called Blackalicious! And they’re really good, old-school…”

Daniel slumped in his chair as Emma doubled over laughing. Once she’d recovered, she looked him in the eye and said: “Get out.”

He got out.


“Super scientifical sound search sought, silencing super fire saps that are soft, tales ten times talented, too tough…”

A shadow fell over Daniel, and his words trailed away as he looked up. Alan Rickman loomed over him, fully enrobed. Was the man ever not in character?

Alan’s lips were moving, but the music was still going and Daniel couldn’t hear him. He yanked out his earbuds. Tinny beats rang out of the tiny speakers for another second before he paused the song.

“I’m sorry, what was that?”

Alan glared down. “I said, what are you doing, Potter?”

The nasal voice and everything. And he was still wearing the wig.

“I was just practicing a song, Alan. Can I… help you with something?”

“No. I left my wallet in the dungeon. It’s under your chair.”

“Ah.” At least he’d have the Potions classroom to himself after this. The dungeons had no cell reception, so the other actors never went down there when the cameras weren’t rolling.

Daniel bent down and saw the wallet immediately. He picked it up and placed it gingerly in Alan’s palm. Rumor had it that the man kept a teenage photo of Geraldine Somerville inside. That was too much acting even for Daniel, and he — as Emma would never let him forget — had fondled a man dressed as a horse, naked, in front of a Broadway audience.

“Potter,” said Alan, sharply.

Daniel blinked. He’d been lost in thought. “Yes?”

“This is the third time I’ve heard you rapping. You’ve gotten a lot better. Don’t let anyone tell you to stop doing what makes you happy.”

After a few seconds, Daniel remembered to close his mouth.

“…thank you, Professor. I mean, that is, thank you, Alan.”

“One could even say that you are, basically, bombarding. Breaking barriers, as it were.”


Alan winked, then turned in a swoosh of robe and strode out of the Potions classroom.


“Xerox, my X-radiation holes extra large, X-height letters and xylophone tones…”

Daniel sauntered down the hallway, fist-bumping Rupert on the way to his dressing room and rapping all the while. The words came as naturally as his own breath. Seven years later, the adventure was over.

They were also shooting the last few scenes of the eighth movie tomorrow. That was easy not to think about when his favorite song was playing, but he’d have to face the end soon. He’d try not to cry when it was over.

“…overzealous rhyme ZEALOTS!” Daniel plucked out his earbuds and wrapped them in a tight circle around his handy headphone-holder (hear ’em holler at your homeboy). He put his hand to the handle of the dressing-room-door (Don Dada on the down low).

The sound of singing drifted in from another direction. The cadence of the chorus was feminine, familiar. Could it be?

He followed the noise. It really was noisy — someone practically shouting the last verse of Kanye’s “Monster”, as though they didn’t realize they weren’t the only person in the building.

It was getting late. The only other person who stayed this late was…

Her door was open. As Daniel stopped at the entrance, he heard:

“…while it, Watson on them titties when I sign it, have these niggas so one-track minded, but really really I don’t give a F-U-C—“

Emma looked up and dropped her phone. It hit the ground screen-first. Daniel winced. He’d given her a case for her birthday, but she assumed it was a gag gift — “you thought it would be funny to buy Hermione Granger an Otterbox?” — and she never used it.

“Get out!”

“You know, that wasn’t half-bad.”

“Get out!”

“You need to get into the flow a bit more, you’re putting the same pause after every—“


She slammed the door with a crash that shook the walls. From inside, a muffled shout: “Go f**k a horse, Radcliffe!”

Daniel walked away, whistling.

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