Counter-Question: WHY do you want to use C?
Or put differently: What is your real goal?
Do you just want to see it work? Do you want to make something more performant? Is there something that's not implementable in perl?
I'm asking this because shortly after trying to implement inline C you're worried about size of the resulting library. To me the first priority would be: Is it worth it? And that means some kind of performance/functionality test. Stripping down the C-beast afterwards is only necessary if there is an actual gain - otherwise stay with pure perl for easier portability, maintainability, conciseness...