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I'm pretty sure I read it in an anthology or in Analog magazine. The characters include a man who fixes holes in the universe, a talking toaster, and a few other 'misfits', and a woman who sort of keeps track of them all. There's a visit by a guy who I think has some mental powers of persuasion, and he ends up breaking the toaster (I think).

The main character is a young man with a psychic ability to control people, and he stumbles across the house of 'misfits' which include a child firestarter, an old man (Mr. Santiago?) who somehow is responsible for holding the universe together, and a shapeshifter named Toby who takes the form of whoever the person nearest to it loves the most. He stays there for a while and helps them out, but the woman who runs the place is disturbed when he uses his psychic abilities to convince a cashier he's paid for groceries.

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    The TV show Red Dwarf comes close in some episodes... – dmckee Feb 12 '14 at 3:28
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    Yes, I think they got the toaster idea from the short story. – jillian Feb 12 '14 at 4:08
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    Michael Marshall Smith's One Of Us also features talking appliances, but I don't remember the other plot elements. – Avner Shahar-Kashtan Feb 12 '14 at 7:09
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    The Brave Little Toaster? – Dunebro Feb 12 '14 at 12:17
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    Do these details sound familiar - Main character is a young man with a psychic ability to control people, he stumbles across the house of 'misfits' which include a child firestarter, an old man (Mr. Santiago?) who somehow is responsible for holding the universe together, and a shapeshifter named Toby who takes the form of whoever the person nearest to it loves the most? He stays there for a while and helps them out, but the woman who runs the place is disturbed when he uses his psychic abilities to convince a cashier he's paid for groceries, and when he keeps sneaking up to the attic to see To – Viergacht Feb 27 '14 at 20:05

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